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I want to thank all of the amazing people that took the time to speak to us directly. I am blown away with your knowledge, eagerness to teach and commitment to ensuring Black voices are not silenced. Educating ourselves is the first step if we hope to make any progress in bringing an end to systemic racism. As much as one might want to believe things have gotten better we cannot deny any longer that they have not. We need to acknowledge that social, political and economic discrimination against Black communities continues to exist. There is a deep pain that needs to be healed. Unless this is recognized history will continue to repeat itself over and over. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Tomorrow is Juneteenth which commemorates the day slaves in Texas were told they were free on June 19th 1865. To learn more of the history and the movement to make it a national holiday read The article in my bio. Please take the day to have conversations with your family and friends about the importance of Black Lives Matter and how we all need to join together to ensure equality and justice and then continue these conversations every day!⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Everyone needs to have their voices heard and we can do that by VOTING! We will not let voter suppression stop us! Check out @whenweallvote to get registered and find other helpful resources.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ It’s not lost on me how fortunate I am to have this platform and appreciate you all for taking the time to watch, listen and take in the powerful messages and information we’ve been provided over the last two weeks by some of the most inspiring people I’ve come across in my life. If you missed any of these incredible IG stories they are all saved in my Story Highlights under #BLM and #BLM2. This is just the beginning and we will continue to hear from other Black voices and as well as other marginalized communities I am committed to doing the work and I hope you join me.
Below I will break down the history of Black trans activism and the importance of supporting Black trans leaders in this time. As we continue to have conversations about white supremacy and police brutality, it’s important to tackle other systems of oppression like gender. We are all impacted by it and we all have the opportunity to move past the boxes we’re placed in and reach a truer, more powerful potential.⠀ ⠀ Here’s my action item list:⠀ 1️⃣ Follow and listen to Black trans leaders. A few include @janetmock, @sharsaysso, @hopegiselle, @ashleemariepreston, @indyamoore, @rayzhon, @ariasaid, @angelicaross, @tiqmilan, @marquisevilson, @devinmichaellowe, @tywrent, @kingtexas, @tourmaliiine. (More provided via a resource list on Selena’s story.)⠀ ⠀ 2️⃣ Support, elevate, and donate to Black transgender-led organizations and initiatives like @snap4freedom, @transgenderdistrict, @theokraproject, @bravespacealliance, @youthbreakout, @4thegworls, @glits_inc. (A longer list will be provided via Selena’s story.)⠀ ⠀ 3️⃣ Reflect on your own privileges and how you can use them to support others, particularly your Black trans siblings, sisters, and brothers.⠀ ⠀ Bonus 4️⃣: Hold anti-Blackness and transphobia accountable in the moment. If someone is discriminating against or spewing hate about Black and trans folks, please call it out and speak to the beautiful humanity of our people.⠀ ⠀ — Raquel Willis (@raquel_willis)
Please meet Raquel Willis (@raquel_willis). Raquel is an activist, soon-to-be author, and media strategist dedicated to building the power of Black transgender people. She began her career as a newspaper journalist, and eventually began working with other Black trans organizers at Solutions Not Punishments Collaborative (@Snap4Freedom) to develop campaigns to support Black trans people being profiled by police in Atlanta. Her talents led her to Transgender Law Center (@translawcenter) where she founded Black Trans Circles (@blacktranscircles_tlc), a project focused on healing justice for Black trans women in the Southern and Midwestern United States. She is also the former executive editor of Out magazine, where she created The Trans Obituaries Project dedicated to elevating the stories of slain trans women of color. She is currently working on an essay collection about her life experiences and activism called The Risk It Takes to Bloom.⠀ ⠀ Raquel believes in the power of storytelling and digital organizing as elements of radical change. She believes that the world can learn a great deal from Black transgender people because we are all limited by restrictive notions of gender. “Black trans people are a window of possibility for the men and boys who struggle to express their emotions and be tender, to the women and girls who struggle to be seen as smart and capable leaders, to everyone in between struggles within all simultaneously—you deserve to be complicated and human.”⠀ ⠀ Raquel is taking over my Instagram today!