Black Trans Lives Matter.
Activists and allies are urging the public to prioritize the issue of violent transphobia, particularly against Black women, in the wake of the murders of Riah Milton in Ohio and Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells in Philadelphia.
According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Riah Milton's murder is believed to be "at least" the 14th violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the U.S. alone.
In a statement, Tori Cooper—the HRC's director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative—asked everyone to "say their names" and also noted that these most recent deaths come amid a time of societal unrest as protests calling for social justice continue worldwide.
"Black Trans Lives Matter," Cooper on Friday. "In the same week countless people across the globe stand up for racial injustice, in the same week we honor the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, in the same week a billionaire author spouts transphobic rhetoric to millions —in this same week, we have lost two more Black transgender women to the same fate most of us worry about every day. Say their names. Dominique 'Rem'mie' Fells. Dominique 'Rem'mie' Fells. Dominique 'Rem'mie' Fells. Riah Milton. Riah Milton. Riah Milton. Continue to say the names of every transgender and gender non-conforming person stolen from this Earth. Don't wait until we are all gone to speak up. This fight belongs to us all."
Last week, the Trump administration finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in the health care and health insurance sectors. The rule, which is set to go into effect by the middle of August, has the potential to bring on even more harm to transgender people in the U.S.
In response, the HRC is suing the Trump administration.
"It is clear that this administration does not believe that LGBTQ people, or other marginalized communities, deserve equality under the law," HRC president Alphonso David said when announcing the lawsuit. "But we have a reality check for them: we will not let this attack on our basic right to be free from discrimination in health care go unchallenged."