A weekend vigil in Nashville drew an intimate crowd to honor Tony McDade, a 38-year-old Black transgender man who was shot and killed in May, by a police officer in Tallahassee, Florida.
There was no chanting at this protest at Public Square Park. But there was music, a moment of silence and brief candle lighting.
“Personally I just want people to include us,” says Kai Campbell, one of the organizers of the gathering. “The reason why we had this vigil in the first place is because Tony McDade, you know, no one is saying his name.”
Campbell says while other victims of police brutality are important, there is a concern that the Black trans community was being left out of the larger Black Lives Matter movement.
“We’re tired of being bullied by the state and the police who are transphobic and homophobic,” says Kayla Gore, a Black transgender woman who traveled from Memphis. “Still today, we’re being pushed out of movements … which means that a lot of times are stories don’t get heard and don’t get the proper attention that it deserves.”
Organizers say while they support the growing wave of protests, they hope more transgendered voices will be included, as the Black trans community are also victims of white supremacy and police violence.
“We are just shedding light on something, not casting darkness on something else,” says David Thomas, who attended the vigil. “If you feel strongly about whatever you feel strongly about, feel free to do so, have your voice and step up. We are using ours.”