PROTESTS AND RIOTS ARE NOT NEW: BLACK TRANS WOMEN LIKE MARSHA P JOHNSON FOUGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM. DO NOT FORGET.
Text by Charlie Long
MAY 24th 2020
It was black trans women like Marsha P. Johnson who fought for our liberation and our freedom at Stonewall 51 years ago. I am tired of seeing non-black people comment negatively on the protests taking place right now. Seeing statements like ‘All Lives Matter’ ‘you shouldn’t fight violence with violence’ ‘what are the protests achieving’ - If you are white especially - as someone in a privileged position in society you will have never fallen victim to the gross institutionalised racism and white supremacist ‘justice system’ that has taken the lives of people like George Floyd or Sandra Bland. You have no right to comment on how black people should be reacting or feeling. This isn’t your struggle, but it should your fight.
Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender women who was an LGBTQ rights activist and an outspoken advocate for trans people of color. Johnson spearheaded the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and along with Sylvia Rivera, she later established the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group committed to helping homeless transgender youth in New York City. She was tragically murdered on July 6, 1992 at the age of 46.
Marsha is a example of someone who protested for change. Her actions allow us now, as queer people in the west, to have more freedom and rights than we ever have before. It is the same important emotionally charged drive that is motivating the protests across the world right now. There has been years of peaceful protesting but there comes a time when enough is enough. George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Yolanda Thomas, Darrell Banks, the list could go on, all of these innocent people were brutally murdered by the same institutionalised, white supremacist motif that currently plagues our so called 'justice system'.
If you are not black, who are you to tell the victims of active oppression how they should behave and react? Who are you to tell the black lives who have to live in fear how they should feel when another innocent life is taken? This is a time to stand together. A time to stand with your black friends, colleagues, co-workers and loved ones, a time to support, reach out and protect each other. This is a time to fight. A time to protest. A time to educate. A time to be on the right side of history and put an end to the continued white supremacy and disgusting mistreatment of black people across the world.
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