I can barely bring myself to keep writing and editing this letter because our people keep being murdered. Friday night in New Orleans, we lost another community member, Penny Proud. We’ve already lost 6 trans women of color to violence in 2015. Michelle Vash Payne was murdered in Los Angeles, Ty Underwood in Texas, Lamia Beard in Norfolks, Virginia, and L. Ewards, a gender nonconfomring community mmember, in Louisville, Kentucky. Just last week a trans woman of color was beaten in the Bronx, and this past week Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, a Latina trans woman, was killed in San Francisco. Two weeks ago, Jessie Hernandez, a young queer person of color was fatally shot and killed by police in Denver for a perceived car jacking. This list cannot grow any longer. To all those we have lost: REST IN POWER.
Through all of the pain, injustice, and oppression we experience as low-income trans and gender nonconforming people of color, what is clear is that violence in our communities needs to end. But what does justice look like, and how does it feel?
Transgender women of color need to feel safe in our communities. Instead of more police, we need more investment in education, jobs, and housing for LGBTQ people, particularly Black transgender young women. We know what we need to feel safe. We can tell you exactly what is wrong in our city and what needs to change. – BreakOUT New Orleans statement on the death of Black transgender youth
We are healing as a community and working together to vision and create the world we know we need. Abolition is one of our many tools. To work towards our liberation, we must not mirror the systems used to oppress us. Justice will not come from policing, jailing, or incarcerating more people-these systems only contribute to the violence trans and gender nonconforming folks and all folks face. We believe that no one is disposable or expendable, and that the logic of using policing, punishment, and prison has not proven to address the systemic causes of violence. In dismantling structures of oppression, the process is just as critical as the end goal, and we cannot model who the state says is “criminal” and their ideologies and methods for creating “safety.” From immigration and detention, to the prison industrial complex, jails, and psychiatric institutions, the intersections of oppression are deeply embedded in our structures. Abolition means preventing harm, intervening, and working towards non-punitive accountability.
For the next four months, SRLP will offer a series called Everyday Abolition, offering a space to heal from the violence in our communities by practicing and sharing our lived experiences with everyday abolition. The series will feature conversations on practices of abolition that resonate with our communities and lives, drawing off the cultural power and knowledge of low-income trans communities and trans communities of color. For more on the series, please visit http://srlp.org/events/everyday-abolition-series-launch-event/. For more information on this series, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberation is a collective process and we need each other.
In love and justice,
Sasha Alexander, SRLP Director of Membership
February 17, 2015: Practices of Everyday Abolition: A community dialogue and conversation unpacking what abolition means, why it’s important, and the ways that we can practice this in our lives. With all the violence happening in our communities, how can we work toward an abolitionist response?
March 10, 2015: Art for Abolition: Come create abolitionist stencils, memes, photos, and poetry, and see the powerful art work created by our incarcerated members of the SRLP Prisoner Advisory Committee.
April TBD: Transforming Our Communities: Release of the Prison Visit Handbook and discussion of the End Solitary campaign.
May TBD: Intersections of Abolition: May Day Celebration