HRC Blog

Communities Come Together for 2011 Transgender Day of Remembrance

This post comes from HRC Diversity Program Associate Hyacinth Alvaran and HRC Diversity Intern Michael Karakash:

Each year on Nov. 20, communities come together to mark the passing of transgender individuals, or those perceived to be transgender individuals, who have been murdered because of hate. TDoR service in D.C.With the partnership of multiple organizations, communities organize Transgender Day of Remembrance events and activities including candlelit vigils, town hall style "teach-ins," and photography and poetry exhibits. These activities make anti-transgender violence visible to stakeholders like police, the media and elected officials.

This year, HRC participated in Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) events in almost 25 cities from coast to coast.

Here are a few reflections about these events from HRC leaders and supporters across the country:

From Long Beach, CA on Friday, Nov. 11:

TDoR vigil in Long Beach, CA“The solemn ceremony included words from Porter Gilberg from the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Center as well as Councilmember Robert Garcia. During a candlelit procession to Long Beach City Hall, Reverend Jerry Stinson stood with us in solidarity and, while encircled by more than 30 candle bearers, delivered a beautiful prayer for those who have been lost.”

– Nick Spurlock, Diversity Co-Chair for the HRC Orange County / Long Beach / Palm Springs Steering Committee

From Bellevue, KY on Wednesday, Nov. 16:

“This year’s program included an historical perspective by Vicky Blum; Opening Reflections by Estelle Riley; and a keynote speech by Leisan Smith, Program Director of LGBTQ Center at the University of Cincinnati.  The program ended with a stirring arrangement of “Born This Way” by Amy Annette Wardwell.”

 – Andrew Winters, Diversity Co-Chair for the HRC Greater Cincinnati Steering CommitteeTDoR march in New Orleans, LA

From Nashville, TN on Wednesday, Nov. 16:

“It was such an important time to come together to acknowledge how far we have to go, but how beautiful and diverse the gathered community was - in our pain, in our frustration we can come together and name injustice and commit to making a difference in the year ahead.”

– Laura Rossbert, Diversity Co-Chair for the HRC Nashville Steering Committee

From Cleveland, OH on Friday, Nov. 18:

“It was most moving and sad to hear about how many transgender people have been killed just for being themselves. I am honored to be a part of an organization like HRC that continues to fight for equality for all and will certainly continue that fight until we achieve equality for all: L, G, B, and T!”

– Michael Smithson, Board member of the HRC Cleveland Steering Committee

TDoR vigil in Raleigh, NCFrom Las Vegas, NV on Friday, Nov. 18:

“I’m so happy to see the students and professors embracing the Transgender community in a passionate way. This is a first for us at UNLV and I couldn’t be more proud to be involved.”

– David Mikowski, President of Alliance (LGBT student organization at University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

“This program has been my passion for over 7 years and I am so grateful that the community has continued to recognized the importance to acknowledging those we have lost and harnessing the love to empower us as a community to move forward and make things better.“

– Jamie Sprague, Pastor of Abundant Peace Church

TDoR service in BostonFrom Boston, Mass. on Sunday, Nov. 20:

"The HRC Boston team commemorated Transgender Day of Remembrance in the packed Cathedral of Saint Paul. This week, the Massachusetts Legislature passed the "Transgender Civil Rights Bill," which will protect transgender people in Employment, Housing, and Hate Crimes . When Governor Deval Patrick signs the bill, Massachusetts will be the 16th state with protections for Transgender Americans."

– Mario Rodas, Diversity Co-Chair for the HRC Boston Steering Committee

From Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, Nov. 20:

“The heartbreaking news of how many members of the transgender community who are no longer with us was devastating, but was juxtaposed by the heartwarming story of a transgender woman who recently came out to her son. The love and compassion he showed her showed us all that there truly IS hope in our community.”

– Lisa Marchbanks, Volunteer Co-Chair, Social Media Manager, and Dinner Committee member of the HRC Los Angeles Steering Committee

From Palm Springs, CA on Sunday, Nov. 20:TDoR vigil in Palm Springs

“It is sad to know that a transgender individual has to question whether a gas station or quick mart is safe to go into. Even more saddening is the way in which many of the individuals were murdered… How much fear must that person perpetrating that act have?”

– John Lussier, HRC Federal Club member

From New York, NY on Sunday, Nov. 20:

"The service gave me a new appreciation and understanding of the daily struggles faced by many of our brothers and sisters. It was a reminder that we must renew our commitment for passage of trans-inclusive civil rights legislation/GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act). The work of equality must continue to advance until we have full LGBT Civil Rights."

– Eric Blomquist, Board member of the HRC Greater New York Steering Committee

TDoR service in D.C.From Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Nov. 20:

"Transgender Day of Remembrance is always a stark reminder of the harsh obstacles facing the trans community. As this event grows larger each year, so too does the hope that we will one day not have to come together to mourn those lost to violence, ignorance and intolerance."

– Kenneth Hopson, Diversity Co-Chair for the HRC Greater Washington, D.C. Steering Committee

From Waco, TX on Sunday, Nov. 20:

"Allies who are willing to stand courageously against intolerance whenever it appears are critical to our fight to end the violence that claimed dozens of transgender lives again this year, and continues unabated here in America and around the world."

Allyson Robinson, Deputy Director of Diversity for the Human Rights Campaign

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