Proclamation & flag raising ceremony at City Hall memorializes lives lost to violence & injustice against transgender community
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza joined members of the Providence Human Relations Commission (PHRC), TGI Network President Ethan Huckel, TGI Network Board Member Kayla Powell, MX Trans Rhode Island 2018 Payton James, local comedian and activist Nika Lomazzo, Support Group Leader with Youth Pride Lukas Hawthrone and Youth Pride Executive Director Elana Rosenberg at City Hall to proclaim Tuesday, November 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Providence. Transgender Day of Remembrance is an international movement commemorating and honoring the lives of transgender and gender-expansive individuals lost to violence and the injustices faced by transgender and gender-expansive communities.
“In Providence, we are proud to stand in solidarity with our transgender community,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Transgender Day of Remembrance allows us to pay our respects to those who have tragically and unjustly lost theirs. While marginalized communities are targeted at the national level, we will continue to lead by example locally by creating a community here in Providence that allows all people to be free from discrimination, hatred and violence.”
Observed every year on November 20th, this important tradition was sparked by the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts which happened 20 years ago this month. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was then established in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender activist, in memory of Rita Hester.
Various reports show that anti-transgender violence in the U.S. has been rising in recent years. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2017 advocates tracked at least 29 deaths of transgender people in the country due to fatal violence. This made it the deadliest year on record for transgender and gender-expansive individuals, with the majority of deadly attacks being against women of color. Numbers for transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2018 are trending to match that of 2017.
Under Mayor Elorza’s administration, the City of Providence has prioritized eliminating discrimination and has advocated for equitable treatment of individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Mayor Elorza has prioritized creating an inclusive and welcoming city by:
- Appointing an LGBTQ+ liaison as a community contact
- Expanding gender-neutral restrooms in publically-owned facilities
- Adopting an inclusive healthcare policy for city employees and retirees to cover transition-related services
- Launching the 1-877-3HCRIME (1-877-342-7463) hate crime hotline as a safe way to for victims to report
- Instituting a travel ban in solidarity with the LGBTQ community that prohibited an officer or employee of the City to use City funds for non-essential official travel to North Carolina or Mississippi following the passage of laws limiting access to public services and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and gender non-conforming people.
These efforts have earned Providence a perfect score from 2015 to 2018 in the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) assessment of LGBTQ inclusivity city-wide.