HRC Issues Pledge for State and Local Elected Leaders to End Violence Against Black and Brown Transgender Women

by Wyatt Ronan

Today, Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David and Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, the first openly Black trans woman elected to public office in the United States, announced that the Human Rights Campaign is launching a “Pledge to End Violence Against Black and Brown Transgender Women” as part of its Transgender Justice Initiative. The Pledge asks state and local elected leaders to acknowledge the disproportionate and record-breaking fatal violence against transgender people in America, especially Black and brown transgender women, and take decisive steps to deliver change that saves lives and advances the cause of LGBTQ equality.

In 2020, the Human Rights Campaign has recorded more violent deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people than any year since tracking began in 2013. At least 33 violent deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming persons have occurred this year. HRC will be asking state and local policymakers, including governors, attorneys general, state legislators, mayors, city councilors and others who sign the pledge to commit to interrupting the cycle of violence through self-education, listening to the communities impacted, and identifying and eliminating the disparities and barriers disproportionately borne by Black and Brown women.

“With a record number of violent deaths of transgender or gender-nonconforming people this year, our leaders must step up and make the commitment to take action on this urgent public safety issue,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Policymakers at every level must act. Officials at the local and state levels must mobilize to make sure that transgender and gender-non-conforming people are protected from violence, hate, and discrimination. Inclusion and justice must be a policy priority. Only then can we begin to fully address this unfathomable level of fatal violence and deliver on the promise of full equality under the law.”

“Change comes from the grassroots up, Transgender and gender non-conforming folks represent the most marginalized members of our community, we must include their voice if we are to achieve true and sustainable change. That is why I joined the Board of the Human Rights Campaign and why I am asking other elected officials throughout the country to take this pledge,” said City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. ”This pledge is an opportunity for us to engage leaders in local government and develop partnerships between cities and towns across this country to unite for equality. We have a chance to not only create a model for success, but replicate that model in every community to keep transgender people safe and ensure that equal justice and acceptance extends to everyone.”

This pledge serves not only as a commitment but a guiding document for elected leaders looking to deliver meaningful change. The document outlines a series of steps the Human Rights Campaign believes are important to address this crisis of public health, safety, and discrimination.

Elected officials who signed on to the pledge thus far include:

  • Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins (HRC Board Member)
  • Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
  • New York Attorney General Letitia James
  • Florida State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith
  • Florida State Representative Shevrin Jones
  • North Carolina State Representative Cecil Brockman
  • North Carolina State Representative Allison Dahle
  • Texas State Representative Jessica González
  • Texas State Representative Julie Johnson
  • Virginia Delegate Danica Roem
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
  • Cleveland Councilor Phyllis Cleveland
  • Columbus Council President Shannon Hardin

To read the full pledge, click here. Elected officials interested in signing onto the pledge can do so here.

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