Last night, I attended a meeting at the 211 N. Ervay building, put together by the Black Women’s Defense League and Black Trans Advocacy, straightforwardly titled Emergency Community Meeting to Keep Black Trans Women Safe. And that is what it is — an emergency. Two black trans women, Muhlaysia Booker and Chynal Lindsey, were found murdered in the last two weeks.
Carmarion D. Anderson, one of the organizers and leaders of the discussion, said that at Muhlaysia’s funeral, it was the first time it felt like it could have been her in the casket. The room was hot at first, and maybe the mood was a little, too, before everyone got comfortable with each other. It was intersectional, with every group and subgroup and sub-subgroup of Dallas’ LGBTQIA community represented somehow (the most noticeable being the DFW Sisters in their white makeup and gowns) and also allies like Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas, senior pastor at Cathedral of Hope but also a white cis-gender male. He said before the meeting that it was his duty to be quiet and learn, to sit back and listen to what he could do.
The point of the meeting was to connect people to resources, whether it was counseling or housing or jobs, and there was a lot of whiteboarding done to make that happen. One of the attendees, a former soldier, offered his services as a self-defense instructor. All he needed was space; at the meeting, he found it. There was some monologuing, of course, but some people needed to vent. Mostly, everyone came focused, ready to figure out how to help. Carmarion kept the discussion lively and moving and even managed to make it lighthearted, punctuating sentences with her rainbow fan, YAAAAS written across it, popping it open in rhythm.
Someone after said it was the most productive meeting they had been to. But, obviously, much more needs to happen. Especially once the headlines fade.