During March, Common Grounds was utilized by several groups to hold social justice events.
On March 15th, SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Charlottesville’s Queer Caucus hosted a vigil and celebration in response to the call for a national trans day of action. The purpose of the event was to, “come together as a community to mourn the lives of the seven known trans women who have been killed so far this year; to cry out and organize for justice; to celebrate the legacy of their beautiful lives; to commit to relentless pressure on our “justice system,” police forces, government, and community orgnizations; and to rekindle our spirits for the long road towards collective liberation.”
The vigil created space for family and friends of Sage Smith, a local trans woman who has been missing since 2012, to share stories and memories.
SURJ’s Queer Caucus also honored the seven trans women who had been murdered in 2017:
Mesha Caldwell, 41 (Canton, Mississippi)
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, 28 (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
Jojo Striker, 23 (Toledo, Ohio)
Tiara Lashaytheboss Richmond, 24 (Chicago, Illinois)
Jaquarrius Holland, 18 (Monroe, Louisiana)
Chyna Doll Dupree, 31 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Ciara McElveen, 21 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Event attendees took up a donation for Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center in DC, which is a bilingual, multicultural safe space for LGBTQ+ people in the DC area. The week before the vigil, significant property damage was done to the center and a trans staff member was assaulted.
Later in March, the Transgender Health Alliance of Central Virginia (THACVA) held a film screening of “America in Transition” and a question and answer session with the filmmakers. The film is a social change documentary about how place and community shape trans people’s lives.
Trans and gender non-conforming students and community members were invited to attend. Learn more about the film at http://americaintransition.org.