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All black lives really do matter

IGNORED: From left to right: Ciara McElveen, Chyna Gibson and Jaquarrius Holland

DO YOU consider yourself a #BlackLivesMatter supporter? Do you retweet pro-black comments on Twitter,
like #blacklove pics on Instagram, and maybe – just maybe – attend the occasional march?

Well then I guess in our social media-driven society, where an act of activism is just 140 characters away, you are indeed a firm supporter of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. But the real question is – are you really supporting all black lives?

In recent reports, it was revealed that in the space of one month, four black transgender women – Ciara McElveen, Chyna Gibson, Keke Col- lier and Jaquarrius Holland – had been killed, with two of the murders taking place just 48 hours apart in the last week of February. Chances are, you never heard anything about these deaths though.

The New York City Anti-Violence Project, which tracks transgender crimes, also reported that these latest crimes bring the total number of trans women killed in 2017 to seven – a higher number than at this point in 2016, a year that saw trans deaths rise.

Now, the purpose of this article isn’t to divide the #BlackLivesMatter movement. But with every ideology, system or movement, certain areas need to be examined. The death of black trans women – heck, black cisgender women, too – are rarely ever widely reported in mainstream media to the extent of the deaths of black men.

CALLING IT Writer and activist Raquel Willis

The harsh reality is that the Black Lives Matter movement must embody that of its name – that all black lives should be fought for vigorously in the same way we would for the cisgender (non-transgender) black men that are being slain in the streets.

Some may argue that there’s not as much urgency, because black men are being targeted and killed more. But again, the death of black trans women isn’t widely reported to the same degree, and when they are, there is still a level of stigma associated towards them as if they’re less than. As a result, we must fight to elevate the conversation around Black Lives Matter, to include those who are disproportionately and uniquely affected – black trans women being one of them.

Some may have their personal feelings as to whether they “agree” with transsexuals and people who don’t conform to certain gender norms, but at the end of the day, if you’re deciding to be “pro-black” and you’re out hear chanting ‘black lives matter’ and saying it with our chest, you might as well mean what you say, right?

Black Lives Matter – even the lives of people who’s lifestyle you may not agree with. In my opinion, you can’t pick and choose. Either stand for equality and the rights of all black lives or don’t at all.

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