Spike of violence against black transgender women a growing crisis

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Just a month after a transgender woman and her friends were killed on Detroit's east side, lawmakers and advocates are working to combat the murder of black transgender women, a growing issue across the country.

"There is a national crisis of violence against transgender, black women," said Michigan Rep. Isaac Robinson

Robinson joined elected officials, activists and advocates in calling for an end to the violence that has impacted the LGBTQ community in metro Detroit all too often.

"Paris Cameron - a black transgender woman was killed on May 25 here in Detroit and we can't just put our head in the sand and say we're not going to do anything," Robinson said.
Paris Cameron and two gay friends were murdered. Robinson says nationally 10 transgender women have been murdered this year -- all of them women of color.

"It's human rights and social justice advocacy," said Al Williams, African-American Institute. "So we to make sure we are educating everyone in the state of Michigan, especially those in the metro Detroit area."

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"Being discriminated against and not having opportunity for the basic things that people take for granted - housing employment, medical, healthcare," said Julisa Abad, Fair Michigan.

The group, including the attorney general's office, the ACLU, the Ruth Ellis Center, are working to address issues like housing and jobs. 

Too many transgender women have nowhere to go and are homeless. Too many have difficulty finding work and end up working as prostitutes, people like Kelly Stough who was murdered in 2018. Or a woman, known as Chocolate, who was shot and nearly killed on Woodward Avenue in 2017.

"In this upcoming budget, we need more than roads," said Williams.

"We need a people's budget that addresses this crisis directly - Civil Rights also has to be funded," Robinson said.

As the lawmakers, lawyers and activists brainstorm, they're asking the community to get involved. 

Activists are encouraging the public to contact Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as well as their state legislators, during this ongoing budget process.

"If she gets a hundred phone calls today that says what are you doing about funding for housing for persons with disabilities, low income persons, transgender people - that changes the conversation," Robinson said.