Denali Berries Stuckey. Brooklyn Lindsey. Zoe Spears. Chanel Scurlock. Chynal Lindsey. Paris Cameron. Michelle Washington. Muhlaysia Booker. Claire Legato. Ashanti Carmon. Jazzaline Ware and Dana Martin.
These are the names of 12 Black trans women who were killed in a swift stroke of violence over the last six months. This month, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute announced its plan to take on the targeted wide-spread violence of Black trans women in America by announcing The MPJI Safety and Wellness Act.
“This act provides Black trans women with a platform to design a national model for policies, legislation, and laws that prioritize the safety and wellness of their communities. When implemented at the federal, state and local levels this act will create increased resources, programs, and other interventions, designed to center the needs of the victims of both community and state level violence that negatively impacts the lives of Black trans women,” a statement on the institute’s Instagram page reads.
The MPJI will work with local community activists and politicians to invest in the economic mobility of Black trans women and the de-stigimitization of sex work, housing and health care. Ground movement will be focused in the communities of Washington D.C. and Prince George’s County in Maryland. Ashanti Carmon and Zoe Spears, two Black trans women killed this year, were residents of PG County.
The organization is named for trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, a New York City resident who committed her life to true intersectionality and liberation of black trans women. MPJI works to frame Jonson’s work as one of the most prominent voices of trans rights, and was founded by trans activist Elle Hearns.
Johnson’s legacy as one of the main uprisers in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, was largely erased by members of the white LGBTQI community. Johnson’s body was discovered in the Hudson River in 1992, and to date the events leading up to her death remain somewhat unknown. In 2012, her case was reopened by the police to be investigated as a homicide, spearheaded by activist Mariah Lopez. In 2017 a documentary named The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson profiled the activist’s prolific work.