Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) launched a campaign this week to hire a new program fellow–Nona Conner, a black trans survivor of violence, who will work to research and address sexual and gender-based harassment and violence in the DC trans community. The program is being developed in response to growing anti-trans harassment and violence, particularly targeting transwomen of color. Just last month, black transwoman Keyonna Blakeney was murdered in the DC area, and this week a transwoman was harassed and assaulted by a security guard at the Giant in Northeast.
“We know that harassment in public spaces is most severe for people who are part of a marginalized group, and even more so for those who are part of multiple marginalized groups, such as transwomen of color,” said Jessica Raven, Executive Director of CASS. “Nona’s insight and experiences as a survivor of violence are all too common for transwomen of color, and she is best equipped to work with DC’s trans community to assess the need and design a program that will make our city safer for everyone.”
In 2013, Nona Conner was stabbed more than 48 times after she rejected a man’s advances. Since her attack, she has spoken out publicly about violence against DC’s trans community.
“Transwomen in DC face harassment from family, police, and strangers on the street simply for living in our unique truth,” said Nona. “We are no different from anyone else. We all breathe the same air, under the same blue sky.”
The campaign is seeking funding through Do More 24, a local movement that encourages DC-area residents to contribute to charitable causes within a 24-hour window on June 2. CASS is taking pledges now at bit.ly/HireNona.
Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) is a grassroots organization that works to empower people in the DC metropolitan area to build a community free from public sexual harassment and assault.