July 30, 2014

“We Must Love Each Other and Protect Each Other”:
A Statement on the Recent Murders of Mia Henderson, Kandy Hall,  Tiffany Edwards, Zoraida Reyes, Yaz’Min Shancez

By Elliott Fukui
TransJustice Coordinator

“Without community, there is no liberation...but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.”

-          Audre Lorde

      The community here at TransJustice and the Audre Lorde Project firstly sends our deepest love, our healing energy, and our support and solidarity to the families and communities of Mia, Kandy, Tiffany, Zoraida, and Yaz’Min. As a political organizing group led by and for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color, we know firsthand the pain and grief of losing our beloved family members to hatred, violence, neglect and broken systems.

      We are approaching the one year anniversary of the loss of Islan Nettles here in New York City, another amazing Trans woman of color whose life was taken through hate violence, and we have yet to receive the justice that Islan and her community deserve. This is far too often the case in the losses of Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people of color, and especially our trans sisters.

      I write this today with a heavy heart, but with a fierce determination and belief in our collective power as Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color. As the great revolutionary Assata Shakur once wrote “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

      The justice, accountability and liberation we seek is much deeper, much wider, and cannot be found in oppressive systems like the prison industrial complex.

      We, collectively, hold the answers to the violence we face. When we love and support each other, when we create spaces to heal, grieve and turn rage into action, we can begin to transform a culture of systemic oppression and violence into a culture of accountability, care, love and justice.

      We are our strongest and most powerful tool against systemic violence.

      To the Trans and Gender Non Conforming communities in California, Florida, Baltimore, Ohio, and beyond, your family in New York City is holding you from afar, and we are honored to continue the struggle for our liberation and for justice for all our people in solidarity with you. You are loved, you are powerful, and we are grateful for your continued resilience and resistance during these difficult times.