Wednesday, May 1, 2013

So Close to Home

From Shane Morgan, Trans Ohio Founder & Chair:

"Tuesday, April 30, 2013 Not One More.

   Those words still resonate with me. It’s the title of a poem written by our board member Erin Upchurch and read aloud at the 2011 Trans Day of Remembrance

. Not One More. Today, we learned that a community member from the Olmsted Township, a western suburb of Cleveland, was murdered and found floating in a local pond. She had been stabbed and tied to a concrete block. Local newspapers quoted people saying that they thought that she was a “mannequin, floating in the water” – the image of this burns in my head, just as the image of Matthew Shepard does – propped up against a fence like a scarecrow.

  Not One More. The outrageous and the stereotypes that have been perpetuated by the media are unthinkable, and honestly I find myself having to be reserved in what I write about them – the media, at this very moment. It disgusts me on so many levels; I don’t even know where to begin. Not One More. “While we remember and honor the life of Ce Ce, we - her community - have the responsibility to ensure that her death, her life and her struggle do not exist in vain," says TransOhio board member Erin Upchurch from Columbus. “The violent death of this young woman is unconscionable and needs to be addressed. Ce Ce was someone’s child but the perpetrator of this horrific crime could not see that all they saw was how she was different and trying to live their life the best they knew how. This is the third trans woman of color murdered in April in the United States alone and this needs to stop! This was a beautiful young lady whose life was stolen from her and all the news can talk about was what she was wearing, shame on them!” shared Cleveland trans activist, Jacob Nash.

   Not One More. “As a representative of MTQWI and the Cincinnati Trans* Community Group, I am both saddened and appalled by the news Cemia’s death. This tragic loss, and how it was handled by the media, reminds us of harsh realities; that transgender youth continue to be at severe risk; that transgender women, especially women of color, are frequent targets of violence; and that society still struggles to recognize trans* people as human beings deserving of kindness, love, and respect. Cemia’s attackers robbed her of her life and the offensively transphobic language of the Cleveland Plain Dealer robbed her of her dignity. We stand with Cemia Dove tonight as members of the trans* community and as fellow human beings,” says JAC Stringer.

   Not One More. It’s a difficult thing to wrap my head around – such intentional brutality intended to be hidden and never surfacing – literally. As a human being, as a compassionate person, as somebody’s friend, brother, sister, child – I can’t even begin to comprehend what Ce Ce’s family and friends are going through. As a community, we cannot allow this kind of violence to continue to happen, nor can we continue to allow the media, those who use our faces on camera or stories on the tv – we cannot allow them to use us – ANY OF US – especially our trans brothers and sisters of color – to be beaten down, brutalized and shown in the media as if there is something wrong with us, that we must have deserved such treatment. Tonight and as tomorrow comes and goes, we must reaffirm our commitment to one another, to our community. We must stand up for one another and put aside differences. We’re stronger together as a unit – let us not forget that. Stay strong. Grieve. Heal. Stay committed. You are worth it. We are worth it. In community,

 Shane Morgan Founder & Chair, TransOhio"

   As the sun came up so brightly on a Spring day and the birds were chirping here...this very dark cloud came across the horizon.

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