Transgender Day of Remembrance
by Lisa Strawn
On Nov. 20th San Quentin held the first Transgender Day of Remembrance. For 2 hours the standing room only event paid tribute to the lives of 22 beautiful transpeople killed this year.
As the organizer of the day I wanted to make sure of 2 things. That the lives of the 22 were important especially transwomen of color. And that the transgender population at S.Q. lets [everyone] here see what inclusion really looks like as opposed to how it has been. There were over 50 outside guests including 5 beautiful people from UltraViolet – of which I was in tears to see them there. Also in attendance Senator Scott Wiener, his aide Cassidy Denny, Ella Baker Center and a big group of supporters from C.D.C.R. headquarters in Sacramento.
For 2 hours the guests and incarcerated women and men of S.Q. got to enjoy 15 performances that received standing ovations and some shed tears. From my vantage point up front I could see what the day meant to all who attended. The day was filled with speakers, music, poetry, reading of the names of the 22 and also a remembrance to all who have lost their lives to violence. The message was clear that violence can never win. We all have to remember that the only way all lives matter, is to make sure trans lives and black lives matter.
Transgender Day of Remembrance at San Quentin could not have happened without the Trans and entire LGBTQP gender fluid population, the Men in Blue who performed and showed up to the event. And the support from Ms. Lopez, Mr. Spohn who run the groups for the Trans and gender queer people. But also the staff who made sure the day happened and brought in the outside guests. It was an effort by everyone and I can say that I will never forget the day and I will always be glad that I can be who I am, a transwoman in a Man’s prison and be proud. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t be who you are. Embrace who you are. Your life matters and so does your voice. Please share this with everyone you meet. I am proud of you all and please say that to others you meet each day. Transgenders are people too. Lisa Strawn #D01271, SQSP/NNB-3-18, San Quentin CA 94974