CHRIS JANSING (ANCHOR): So, Raquel, that's a pretty mind-numbing figure, 16 transgender and gender nonconforming people killed so far this year that we know of. How can the change that we're seeing in many cities and in some cases in states as well translate to protections to change for the trans community?
RAQUEL WILLIS (BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER ACTIVIST): Well, thank you, and thank you for having me, Chris. I think one of the big things we have to remember is that obviously we've seen a lot of strides in legislation, a lot of strides in terms of visibility, but we need to have more funding going to Black trans-led organizations and Black trans organizers. If we don't have that, we won't see the solutions that we need to solve this epidemic of violence.
JANSING: What are those solutions? What are you looking for if you have a checklist of things that you see as doable in this moment?
WILLIS: Absolutely. Well, last year I published the Trans Obituaries Project with Out magazine and put forth a 13-point framework on how we can end the epidemic of violence. I think part of it is getting media literacy, right? A lot of times, we don't even know who all has been attacked, who is in the community. And so we need that. But we also need to build up the economic empowerment of Black transgender people. If we don't do that, we can't have the spaces to move all of the different ways of ending the violence, whether it's in the state system, whether you're incarcerated or detained, or whether you're facing violence in your own home. We have to have a holistic framework that touches on all of these different ways that we are impacted.
JANSING: Give us some specifics about how people can do that, because let's say I'm an ally. I've done my research. I've familiarized myself with the struggle of trans people. Maybe even I've donated or I've utilized my privilege. What specific step would you say to people that they can do individually?
IANNE FIELDS STEWART (BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER ACTIVIST): Something I often say, because I get this question a lot, which is -- and I have to repeat it over and over -- which is that just as we cannot ask Black people to undo racism because white people were the inventors of racism, we cannot ask trans people to deconstruct transphobia because we did not create it. So I think that the most necessary step is, in someone who wants to be an ally to Black trans lives, is for that person to understand what does it take for you to make the lives of Black trans people crucial and important? What does it take for you to inspire yourself to do the necessary work that Black trans people have had to do to learn our own history?
Because we don't just get taught our history. We have to look it up as well. We have to find ourselves. We have to write ourselves into history books that have erased us. And so I think that it is the necessity of any cis person who wishes to be an ally for Black trans people to understand what do you need? Because people are dying. And I can't make our lives important to you, because our lives are important to me just by the virtue that I am part of the community. So what do you need for the lives of Black trans people to be important to you? And then move from there, because I think that when you have that understanding, you will be guided by your own drive, your own dedication to our freedom and our liberation.