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Miami community calls for an end to trans murders

By staff |
May 4, 2017
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Memorial for Chay Reed.
Memorial for Chay Reed. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Opa Locka, FL - On April 28, 20 community members, students and family members gathered to honor the life of Chay Reed and called for an end to trans murders. The vigil was held on the street corner of NW 27th Avenue and 39th Street, the corner where Chay Reed, a 28-year-old Black trans woman, was murdered by an unidentified shooter on April 21. Nine Trans women of color have been murdered in 2017.

The event started with a moment silence for Chay Reed, as activists gathered around and lit candles. A lineup of speakers spoke on the high rates of unemployment, homelessness and discrimination faced by trans women. “We must do everything to protect our trans sisters and all women from the daily violence and harassment we face in this capitalist society,” said Nocturnus Libertus, an Opa Locka resident.

Organizers called for five main demands that they wanted to push from the city to the national level: a democratically elected Civilian Review Board to review hate crimes; an end to trans panic defense laws; inclusion of Gender Identity and Sexual orientation as a protected class in the Florida civil rights code; government-funded healthcare for trans women, and decriminalization of sex work and for unionization of sex workers.

“When trans women of color are making an average salary of $10,000 a year, have a low life expectancy of 35, and are unable to get jobs due to discrimination we must organize for the economic and social aspirations of trans women of color,” Said Meena Rani, a trans woman of color and speaker at the event.

The vigil ended with chants from the crowd of “Trans liberation now!” and “No justice, no peace.” Organizers hope to build off the event and build a sustainable movement against trans violence in Miami. “Until stories of trans murders are no longer in newspapers, I will fight for the health and safety of trans women and gender nonconforming people every single day,” said Kizzy Rock, the LGBTQ+ coordinator of Broward County public schools.

Before leaving, organizers left a memorial for Chay Reed. The vigil was organized by Students for a Democratic Society-FIU chapter (SDS), People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR), Autonomous Womyn’s Front (AWF), Miami Femmes Coalition, and Miami Grrrls.

A sister action was held in Jacksonville earlier that day by the Jacksonville Transgender Action Committee (JTAC) and organizers from Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs have planned a vigil for Friday May 5 at 7 p.m.

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