This month alone, Dominique Fells and Riah Milton, two Black transgender women, were killed in separate attacks in a single 24-hour period, and Oluwatoyin Salau, a 19-year-old Black woman and protester, was killed in Florida.
But these aren’t the names you’re likely to hear at protests or see trending on social media. Too often, Detroiter Ramia Cheathem says, Black femmes are left out of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is why she decided to organize the the Black Femme Liberation rally.
The event — which will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 28 at Grand Circus Park — will focus on the Black femmes who are often overlooked and rally against misogynoir and transmisogyny, which are forms of misogyny directed toward Black women and trans women, respectively. “We can’t have Black liberation without all Black folks being liberated,” Cheathem says.
They find it disheartening that people are mainly posting and being vocal about Black cis men who are killed when Black transgender women and Black cis women are facing the same kind of violence. “It’s kind of bothering me because we go out in the streets, we march, and we cry — we’re probably the most vocal about all of this — but then we come back and we face violence from police brutality, we face violence from our own men,” Cheathem says.
Black women and Black transgender women are encouraged to speak at the event. Cheathem is one of many people who will be speaking, and their talk will focus on how misogynoir has affected their experience at work, online, and around town. “I’m a dark-skinned Black fat non-binary person so I am constantly talked down to or I am met with some kind of aggression.”
To keep disabled people in mind, there will not be any marching during the Black Femme Liberation Rally. The organizers of the event are encouraging participants to wear white in solidarity and to also wear masks and gloves for safety.
For more news on recent protests in Detroit, click here.