This year is nearly over and we want to shout-out all those who fought for Trans and Queer communities here in DC and beyond, because there can be no pride for some without liberation for all! Thank you for your work and for making us all a little bit more free! This year was an exciting year for our newly formed group. It was not without setbacks, but there can be no growth without struggle.
Here are some of the things that we accomplished:
Looking back, last January was a busy month. No Justice No Pride (NJNP) and community partners, Black Lives Matter-DC (BLM-DC), Save Our System, The Future is Feminist and more, organized a “Swipes on Us” campaign and gave away over 1,200 Smartrip cards to metro bus and rail riders in protest of WMATA’s crackdown on fare evasion.
Then, on the one-year anniversary of #DisruptJ20 and the mass arrest of 230 people protesting [Ch]ump’s inauguration, NJNP & BLM-DC activists scaled more than 30 feet up flag poles in front of Union Station and dropped a banner that read “Don’t Trump Our Communities” — reminding the world that we will not let our communities be silenced by a ruthlessly bigoted administration.
Just five days later, NJNP packed City Council and provided testimony that successfully squashed councilmembers McDuffie and Evans’ attempts to expand DC’s already problematic drug & prostitution-related nuisance abatement act of 1998 that would have further criminalized trans survival in the District of Columbia.
Later that day, NJNP and Trans United organized a dinner for national Trans leaders of color to discuss emerging issues in the age of Trump. Coming full circle by the end of the month, NJNP joined Save Our System at the WMATA Budget Hearing on the 31st to testify against WMATA’s policies and practices around fare evasion.
In February, No Justice No Pride organized a protest in solidarity with the #BlackPride4- four Black Trans and Queer organizers who were facing charges in Columbus, Ohio for disrupting Columbus Pride in June 2017. In March, NJNP’s Trans Latina Leadership provided action support to Mijente’s Shackle Sessions Not the People protest in an effort to fight back against the Sessions’ push to reinstitute the practice of shackling of imprisoned peoples, furthering the disproportionate violences faced by trans, GNC, and Two-Spirit prisoners and detained migrants.
Over the past year, our efforts have brought to light the exceptional need in the trans community for access to healthcare, housing, immigration services, spanish speaking language services, and employment. Rampant discrimination prevents many Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) people from accessing services and basic necessities.
So in April, with our communities facing increasing levels of violence becauset of FOSTA/SESTA, NJNP doubled-down on providing Rapid Response Support to our Trans familia and expanded our Trans Justice Program to include mutual aid & support and a pilot Organizing Training Project(OTP) to develop the organizing and leadership skills of Trans folks of color most directly and disproportionately impacted by violences resulting from the criminalization of sex work. Since then, NJNP has provided long-term and temporary housing Black and Brown Trans women and former sex workers, while actively working with community partners and organizers to secure safe spaces to house DC’s homeless Trans populations. Throughout April NJNP canvassed with community partners during the day and with Trans sex workers on the beat at night, sharing information about the campaign to decriminalize sex work and debunking myths used to criminalize our communities.
As April went into May and May to June, NJNP was hard at work with the participants from the Organizing in Training Project, organizing skill-shares and learning how to effectively share our stories. In June 2018, the participants were able to put their new skills to use — while organizing other TGNC community members to join as well — and shared their stories at Sex Workers Rise Up for Safety, a rally organized by No Justice No pride, HIPS, CASS, BYP-100, Trans United Fund, and Metro DSA. The newly trained NJNP organizers continued to work throughout the summer on the first phase of NJNP’s Community Storytelling Project, documenting over 20 stories from Trans Community members about their experiences around sex work, street harassment, Fare Evasion, access to housing, police brutality and more.
Throughout the summer No Justice No Pride organizers also canvassed sex workers, informing them of their rights and ways to plug into NJNP. On the 4th of July, NJNP organizers handed out cheeseburgers to sex workers working late that night in the same area where a Black Trans Woman was intentionally hit by a car one year before. All of this while, the NJNP Collective — the house where the NJNP organizers and Trans Community members were living — was under threat of eviction. As the Summer went on, eviction became imminent and in September, we were forced to find new housing. Thanks to the hard work of NJNP Organizers and the community at large, NJNP was able to find a new home that was much larger than the existing space to more adequately meeting the needs of the organizers and tenants (not to mention a landlord that is excited about supporting trans folks!)
Since then, NJNP established long-term housing for nine Black and Brown trans folks as well as temporary refuge to fluctuating numbers based on need — sometimes as many as 20 folks during a cold weekend. Our support is not based in the idea that the City is lacking these “services”, but that our organizing movement is lacking those who most need to be at the table because they are too busy fighting for resources like housing and food. NJNP’s Trans Justice program has continued housing folks at the new NJNP Collective as well as providing meals and food support and working with Trans Community members to replicate their ideas and approaches of support.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe that we accomplished all of that and more. A lot more, which we couldn’t possibly fit here. You must know that we absolutely could not have done all of this without your support. Together, we spun gold from dust!
This is why we are stepping up in the New Year to continue feeding, housing, training, and employing trans organizers. We provide organizing stipends, meals, jail & legal support, housing and housing search assistance for critically impacted Trans, Non-Binary, and Two Spirit people of color all while strategically taking the streets and pushing for freedom.
In response to the Trump Administration’s ongoing attacks against Trans, GNC, and Intersex people, particularly those of color — as well as the devastating effects the passage of FOSTA & SESTA are having on Trans and GNC sex workers — we are fighting back to not only ensure the D.C. Government fulfill their promises to the D.C. Trans Community but that they take critical steps to further protect Trans lives in the heart of the empire. But we need support.
We are currently planning direct action and creative resistance trainings so that we are ready to make 2019 as important for Trans resistance as 2018. Our communities depend on our ongoing resistance and solidarity. For #NewYearsGiving, will you consider contributing to our goal of 45K to continue and expand on our ongoing community support work through the winter, as well as our Trans Justice Action Fund taking direct action in the New Year?
Originally published in December 2018 at tgnc.nojusticenopride.org.