August 25, 2015 at 11:48 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Nearly 200 attend D.C. protest against anti-trans violence

Black Trans Lives Matter, gay news, Washington Blade

Fresco of Black Youth Project 100 speaks into a megaphone during a protest against anti-transgender violence that took place in Franklin Square on Aug. 25, 2015. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Nearly 200 people gathered in a D.C. park on Tuesday to protest violence against transgender women of color.

GetEQUAL, Black Lives Matter DMV and Black Youth Project 100 organized the event that took place in Franklin Square in Northwest Washington.

Sheila Alexander-Reid, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, was among those who attended the protest. GetEQUAL Co-Director Angela Peoples, D.C. Center for the LGBT Community Executive Director David Mariner, Equality Maryland Interim Executive Director Keith Thirion and Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Beyer also took part.

Protesters held signs reading, among other things, “black trans lives matter” and the names and likenesses of trans women of color who have been killed in the U.S. in recent years.

“Trans lives are under attack,” said Fresco of Black Youth Project 100 into a megaphone at the beginning of the protest. “What do we do? Stand up! Fight back!”

Protesters also read aloud the names of Deoni Jones, a trans woman who was stabbed to death at a bus stop near her Northeast Washington home in 2012, and other trans women of color who have been killed. Organizers simultaneously released balloons in their memory.

Some of those who had gathered in Franklin Square later gathered in the intersection of 14th and K Streets, N.W., to protest against anti-trans violence.

“We’re here today as a catalyst and a starting point and a starting platform to lift up the struggles and the stories of black trans women, of black trans folks, gender non-conforming folks who identify as femme,” said Fresco at the beginning of the protest inside Franklin Square. “In order for all of us to be liberated, we have to lift up and fight for the liberation of the most marginalized folks in our community.”

Earline Budd, a long-time trans advocate in D.C., also spoke at the protest.

“The violence against our community has been enormous,” she said. “It has to stop.”

Aaron Goggans of Black Lives Matter DMV, a local affiliate of the national Black Lives Matter movement that gained prominence last summer after a white police officer shot Michael Brown to death in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., urged black men to do more to support trans women of color.

“Black cis men need to show up,” said Goggans as he spoke during the protest. “We need to stand for our sisters. We need to stand for women who have been pushing this movement.”

“I’m here because I love black trans women,” he added. “I want to support my sisters in the movement.”

More than a dozen trans women of color killed in 2015

The Franklin Square protest was among a series of actions and other events held throughout the country on Tuesday that were designed to highlight anti-trans violence.

More than a dozen trans women of color have been reported killed so far in 2015, including three whose deaths became known during a 24-hour period on Aug. 17.

Lamia Beard was shot to death in January in the Park Place neighborhood of Norfolk, Va. Baltimore police earlier this month arrested a Hagerstown man in connection with the 2014 murder of Mia Henderson.

Black Trans Lives Matter, gay news, Washington Blade

Elle Hearns of GetEQUAL spoke at rally against anti-transgender violence in Franklin Square on Aug. 25, 2015. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Black Trans Lives Matter, gay news, Washington Blade

Protesters attend a rally against anti-transgender violence in Franklin Square on Aug. 25, 2015. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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