State Watch

Thousands gather for ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ rally in Brooklyn

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in New York City on Sunday to support black transgender Americans in a “Black Trans Lives Matter” march in front of the Brooklyn Museum.

Video of the event shows thousands of rallygoers, most wearing masks due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, marching through New York City streets following an initial gathering at the museum.

Attending Sunday’s rally was the family of Layleen Polanco, a black transgender woman who died in Rikers Island in 2019, according to NBC News. Her family has filed a wrongful death suit against the city, with new video showing that guards waited for more than an hour to get medical assistance after Polanco suffered an epileptic seizure while in custody.

“The video is the last piece of the puzzle,” David Shanies, an attorney for Polanco’s family, told NBC News. “It’s the last bit of indifference to her life that we saw and recklessness to a person who obviously needed help.”

Black transgender Americans face widespread discrimination, according to experts at the National LGBTQ Task Force, and suffer homelessness, harassment and poverty at much higher rates than other transgender Americans or black Americans.

“From education to employment and housing discrimination, from police brutality to health care disparities, Black transgender people are suffering at extremely high rates due to bigotry and transphobia,” said the National Black Justice Coalition’s former executive director, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, in a statement.

Sunday’s protest comes following weeks of demonstrations in the city and in others in every U.S. state over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black Americans during encounters with the police.

This article was updated at 6:00 p.m. to correctly note Ms. Lettman-Hicks’s position.

Tags Breonna Taylor Brooklyn George Floyd New York City
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