By Rawhi Washah—
On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, PCCC organized an event for Transgender Remembrance Day. The purpose of such event is to honor the deaths of those who are transgender or gender non-conforming people through the years.
Transgender Remembrance Day falls on the 20th of November; it is a special day to honor the memory of those who were transgender or gender non-conforming, who lost their lives due to anti-transgender hate crimes. It was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, who is transgender, in memory of a close transgender woman she knew in 1998.
Those who are transgender and fully transitioned go through struggles that are very severe, struggles that can lead to their death. Harsh realities for those who go through unspeakable acts. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2018, there were at least 26 deaths of those that were transgender/gender non-conforming people in the U.S. alone due to fatal violence.
The deaths of transgender people are usually tracked to be at the hands of friends, family, partners, as well as strangers. A majority of these deaths were black transgender women, as they are at a higher risk than those who are of other races.
The event held at Passaic county community college by the E-board was a success; it ran from 2:30 pm till 4 pm, while highlighting these struggles, and a chance for those whom transitioned into their true selves. Angel Camacho, president of the LGBTQ+ club, started the event with a speech, as he introduced each E-Board member and the advisor.
Camacho has also talked about the many transgender people who have lost their lives from 2015-2019. The names of those who passed are of the following: Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42. Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28. Viccy Gutierrez, 33. Tydi Dansburry, 37. And many more who were wronged for being who they are.
After those of whom lost their lives were mentioned, a moment of silence was taken around the room to honor them and pay their respects, as they were taken too soon, with their whole lives ahead of them. Their chance of living as their true selves was taken too soon.
Stephanie Nieto, from the center for violence prevention came up to the stand and talk about the highlights of the violent acts, that those of whom are transgender go through, as well as to shine light on the issue.
Camacho also introduced Lia Travers from the office of student advocacy to give a speech. PCCC’s student advocacy program includes assistance such as removing non-academic barriers, which includes mental health issues, homelessness, substance abuse, etc. therefore having someone from that department to speak on issues such as these helps to show whoever is going through dark moments that they are not alone.
After Lia Travers gave a speech, the guest speaker for the event was introduced, Moe Rogers. Moe Rogers is a student trans outreach coordinator at Ramapo college of New Jersey. Rogers offers guidance to ensure a smooth transition for students into college. The trans outreach coordinator finds helpful ways between the transgender community and the college community with a combination of educational programs, discussion groups, etc. Rogers was the perfect guest speaker for an event such as this.
Transgender Remembrance Day is a day for those wronged, to be honored in our memories and never forgotten. Events on campus for such issues shines light on these topics and brings awareness, to bring justice, against such hate crimes.