“Today we are here in honor of our trans loved ones who have lost their lives to anti-trans violence over the past year,” said Justice Ameer Gaines, who emceed the event. “Trans Day of Remembrance is historically November 20. We chose to do a vigil out in the park because we felt that it’s important that we can be in community together.”
This year’s Trans Day of Remembrance Vigil was held outdoors, masked and socially distanced, in Dexter Park in Providence. This year’s vigil was hosted by the Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)’s Queer Transformative Roots program and The Unity Center at Rhode Island College.
“This is a really somber day and it’s really hard event to put on every year,” said Gaines. “This year in particular we’ve lost at least 37 folks, trans women, trans men, non-binary folks throughout the states and Puerto Rico. It was a particularly deadly year. It’s been the deadliest year since we started reporting.”
“We also lost some incredible organizers and icons as well, including Monica Roberts, who was a Black trans woman who pushed the media and forced the media to recognize trans lives and trans deaths, starting TransGriot as an online publication. We lost her in early October.”
“Locally, we lost a friend and loved one who was an organizer in Providence for several years, Tatiana Jones,” continued Gaines. “Tatiana Jones organized with Project Weber/RENEW and started a trans support group there. She created an environment where everyone felt loved and everyone felt home, including myself. And for me, personally, she was the oldest Black trans woman I knew. She was the oldest person I could look up to. So honoring her is something that I think is also necessary during this event.”
Here’s video of Tatiana Jones speaking at the Trans Day of Remembrance event held in Providence in 2017:
“In this year in general, with the pandemic and the uprisings, with the elections – I think it’s an incredibly important time for us to understand that there are many ways we can be in community, and we always have to be looking out for and supporting our trans siblings, our trans neighbors who still are not getting the support that they need,” said Gaines. “And even amidst the chaos of this year, still are not given a break.”
Below is the rest of the vigil, with video taken at the scene and the PrYSM live stream:
Can you help us?
Funding for our reporting relies on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But your support is essential to keeping Steve and Will on the beat, covering the costs of reporting many stories in a single day. If you are able to, please support Uprise RI. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable to us. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.
PrYSM live streamed the event, which continues past the three videos in this article beginning at the 14:23 mark.