WHAT NO JUSTICE NO PRIDE BUILT IN 2017

Since its inception in February, NJNP has been working tirelessly to build the future we want.

December 23, 2017

Photos 1, 3, 4, 5, 8 Credit: Dylan Comstock. Photo 9 Credit: #byCHuBBz.

As 2017 comes to a close, join No Justice No Pride (NJNP) in fighting for the rights of ALL trans and queer people, because there can be no pride for some without liberation for all!

Since its inception in February, NJNP has worked tirelessly to support trans and queer organizing in the District of Columbia and build community and solidarity with our chapters and allied groups both nationally and internationally. In the Trump era, as trans and queer folks (especially those who are black, brown, Muslim, migrants, Native, and/or disabled) face continued attacks, we know that effective resistance to violence against us depends upon demanding more from those who claim our voices, profit from our traumas, and ignore the lived violence faced by our communities.

In the face of these injustices - in conjunction with supporting the work of our local, national, and international partners - we have formed two primary programs, but need your help to sustain the work!

As the once radical LGBTQ+ movement was consolidated into the non-profit industrial complex, Gay Inc. formed and continues to tirelessly work to assimilate itself into mainstream cis-hetero systems of power that depend upon white supremacy, patriarchy, settler colonialism, and other systems of oppression.

Photo: #ByCHuBBz

This shift is visible in Pride, and here in DC and around the world, what was once a call to action for the liberation of our entire community has become a hodgepodge of corporate and state-sponsored interests directed by the most privileged members of our larger community. In response to Capital Pride’s complicity with systems of oppression and its continued refusal to reflect the interests of the larger community, activists and organizers from across the District of Columbia came together and formed what is now NJNP to demand that Capital Pride respect our communities and return Pride to its radical roots.

Since Pride, we organized a march and direct action in October to protest the Human Rights Campaign’s decision to honor Wells Fargo at its National Dinner, in spite of the grave human rights abuses its committed

While we have continued to talk to Capital Pride and demand more of them since our actions in June, they still avoid addressing our demands. In 2018, we will continue this pressure, create alternatives to their pro-corporate and pro-state celebrations, and fight to make Pride a safe space for ALL trans and queer communities.

Recognizing the continued marginalization and violence that hurts and kills trans people - especially trans women and especially trans women of color - we began a campaign in July 2017 to fight for against transmisogyny and help protect and support trans people in the District of Columbia - the city with the largest recorded per capita population of trans folks in the U.S. In 2017, a year with the highest identified number of trans folks killed, we wrote a petition to DC officials and we demanded:

  1. The City immediately reviews compliance of administrative and front line staff in all city District of Columbia government agencies with the District’s “Gender Identity or Expression” legal protections for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, and ensure that all staff are adequately trained to adhere to these standards.
  2. The City ends its practice of incarcerating trans people of color, particularly young people. In place of this practice, the City will create a diversion program that provides services to trans people living on the margins, who by necessity are often forced to participate in underground economies. Further:
    1. The City de-prioritize arrests for solicitation and other related offenses;
      The City expand access to Crime Victims Compensation Programs (CVCP) so that victims of a crime who engage in sex work can comfortably report the crime and seek legal remedy without facing charges related to their means of employment;
    2. The City fully decriminalize sex work by the year 2019.
  3. Mayor Bower fulfills her campaign promises to the District of Columbia’s trans and queer populations by:
    1. Addressing hate crimes that target trans and queer communities, particularly in cases where said crimes are committed by officers or other employees of the Metropolitan Police Department, who in committing such crimes break their oaths to protect and defend the citizens of the District of Columbia. In such cases, even while evidence is being collected, the perpetrator shall be immediately removed from duty and the Metropolitan Police Department shall cooperate fully and transparently with the victim’s communities in order to ensure due process during such investigations;
    2. Designing and implementing a cross-agency strategy whose purpose is to identify and reduce violence directed towards trans and queer persons, especially young people and community members of color;
    3. Providing a thorough and transparent report on what the Bowser Administration is doing to reduce the harassment of trans and queer youths in their schools, in their homes, and on the streets.
  4. The City forms a task force of trans and queer community leaders and experts of color to be consulted for their input and guidance as the city develops and sustains programs and policies that support these communities. Members of this community task force must not in any way be affiliated with the Government of the District of Columbia or the Metropolitan Police Department.

Mayor Bowser hasn’t done much to address our concerns, despite the fact that we shut down the street in front of her offices while launching our campaign and the 1,000+ signatures we’ve gathered from local supporters.

Nonetheless, we’ve begun achieving the goals outlined in our petition ourselves. We have joined two coalitions that will help us make key parts of our vision of trans justice a reality. The first is the Sex Worker Advocate Coalition (SWAC), which helped introduce a bill in DC that would decriminalize sex work and make the city drastically safer for sex workers, who in DC are disproportionately trans women of color. We have also joined a coalition to work to pass the Street Harassment Prevention Act of 2017 (SHPA); a bill that would require trans competency trainings of all city employees and help to ensure that all city employees receive thorough training to ensure they are in compliance with the District’s stated commitment to ending discrimination based on gender identity.

So far, NJNP has applied for and received a grant to support this work and has allocated much of what we received to support outreach for SHPA. With your support, NJNP will play a critical role organizing District-wide outreach, public education, and canvassing to generate public support for both of these bills that would make life safer for many trans folks.

In 2018, we also plan to step up our fundraising game in order to expand our trans justice campaign to address housing and employment inequities and migrant justice.

From its inception, No Justice No Pride has rejected notions of clearly defined “trans and queer issues.” As Audre Lorde once said, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” For this reason - and also to support a thriving grassroots organizing community in the District - NJNP also provides critical support to a variety of local and national coalitions working to advance visions of racial, economic, and immigrant justice. These include:

  • The coalition to free the #BlackPride4 (led by BQIC in Columbus)
  • Save Our System, contributing to the ongoing work of ensuring no one is criminalized for not being able to afford public transit and making the system safe and accessible to trans and queer communities.
  • The Justice for Terrence Sterling coalition seeking justice for Terrence Sterling, who was brutally murdered by MPD in September 2016

No matter what happens, 2018 will be a big year for NJNP. With increased funds, we hope to finally move away from being an organization led by volunteers to being an organization that can pay its trans and queer leaders a living wage. Our funding is finite, but our ideas and vision are infinite.

Supporting No Justice No Pride means supporting radical grassroots organizing led by trans and queer leaders. It means supporting a resistance movement outside of the stagnant and limited nonprofit industrial complex. It means ensuring that the radical vision of trans and queer liberation embodied by our ancestors lives on.

This past year has been trying. But despite the current climate of increasing state repression and violence, attacks on the most marginalized communities, and the dismantling of social safety nets, we believe these shifts represent the last stand of an oppressive minority struggling to maintain its power. We believe we are closer than ever to the type of transformation necessary to bring about radical and restorative justice for those at the margins.

This transformation will be led by trans women of color.

In Solidarity,

The NJNP Steering Committee
(Emmelia, Ntebo, Ale, Drew, Britt and David)