Last week, I was in North Carolina as the legislature convened for the first time since passing HB2 in March. I stood at the Capitol building in Raleigh from morning – when I joined with our partners at Southerners on New Ground to deliver your signatures urging the repeal of HB2 – to night, when I joined a protest that briefly shut down the General Assembly and sent the message loud and clear that HB2 will not stand.
It was an important day of resistance, with organizations and reporters coming from across the country. But it was just one day of a long battle – and I came away heartened not by the big show of the day, but by the ongoing work and leadership of transgender and gender nonconforming North Carolinians.
The powerful action I attended in the evening was organized by transgender and gender nonconforming people of color in the state, including our partners at Southerners on New Ground (which anchors our joint Southern regional program, TLC@SONG). It showed the power of a community coming together to reject a hateful attack and demand better for their state.
I had the privilege of standing behind TLC@SONG Southern Regional Organizer Micky Bradford as she spoke at the morning press conference flanked by SONG leadership, including co-founder Mandy Carter. Micky told the crowd of her childhood growing up in Fayetteville, and of her recent work organizing with trans and gender nonconforming people across the state. She told of the working folks who carpooled and drove for hours from across the state to attend a training so that they, as TGNC people, could lead actions against HB2 in Raleigh and back in their communities.
Despite the legislature’s attempt to silence our communities, Micky told the crowd, “Black and Brown trans and gender nonconforming people, workers, and all of those who are hit hardest by this law are here at the Capitol to make our voices heard.”
And it’s important that these are the folks leading the resistance to HB2, because this is a long-term battle that goes beyond one piece of legislation. As Micky closed:
“These attacks didn’t start and won’t end with this legislative session. The legislature must repeal HB2, and together as a culture we must change. The South must commit to ending these attacks on transgender people. The South must demand living wages. The South must organize to live Free. From. Fear!”
WATCH Micky’s powerful speech at the 29 minute mark below!
All photos courtesy of SONG. For more pictures of the day’s actions, check out SONG’s Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ignitekindred.