A member of our community, Dominique Rem’mie Fells, was tragically and violently murdered this past week. This is a time to come together as a community to grieve and this is also a time to demand action and to clarify what we prioritize in our organizing work. BLM Philly believes there is no liberation without Black trans people. BLM Philly is committed to increasing our outreach to organizations that support and have trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming leadership. How are we claiming that Black Trans Lives Matter, if our community only shows up to organize around their deaths?
Transgender people are among those most affected by housing insecurity and face disproportionate health and safety risks as workers, on top of the increased threat of intimate partner and anti-black state violence. Yet, there is not enough being done to prioritize these issues in our organizing community. Dominique’s life demands that we mobilize more around the murders and marginalization of Black trans members of our community, and that we prioritize centering their joy and happiness, love and progress, and thriving and striving in the present. Dominique’s life was full of joy and that should not be overshadowed in her death.
We have continued to fail our Black transgender family by allowing them to feel alone when Michelle “Tamika” Washington and Shantee Tucker were murdered in our city, just as our trans family may feel alone again right now.
BLM Philly commits to supporting our non-binary, trans and gender non-conforming members and doing the work of expanding our outreach, vision, and leadership to reflect and be accountable to every member of our Black family. Intersectionality and action are not optional for abolition; they are absolute necessities.
We want to be transparent about our recent efforts to offer direct support to our Black trans family: in addition to a donation to Dominique’s family’s GoFundMe, we will make a donation of $1500 to Morris Home, which we understand Dominique called home, and to T-MAN, QTPOC Mutual Transit, and The Sankofa House, which are all Black trans led and serving organizations. In addition, we will begin our own fundraising campaign in support of Morris Home reaching its goal of raising $150,000 to continue its leadership as the first residential recovery program in the country to offer comprehensive services for the trans community.
We are making a commitment to show up for trans folks, in word and in deed. We are being critical of the positions of power that are embodied in our organizing spaces, and operating with a mind toward eliminating oppression in whatever way it exists. BLM Philly will lift up the calls for justice for our trans family, actions to secure justice for Dominique locally, and strategic actions by Black trans folks in the campaign for safety, recognition, and the right to life.
We are encouraged by feedback, support, and call-ins to expand our organizing efforts to better reflect our unshakable commitment to the liberation of all Black people.