Trans prison abolitionists CeCe McDonald and Joshua Allen will be bringing the Black Excellence Tour to the Auraria campus tomorrow, thanks to the efforts of Westword MasterMind and Titwrench co-founder Sarah Slater, who is studying at the University of Colorado Denver, and a coalition of more than ten student groups from UCD, Metro State University of Denver and the Community College of Denver.
McDonald found herself in the national spotlight after she stabbed a man while defending her friends from a racially motivated, anti-trans attack; she accepted a plea bargain and was incarcerated. In response, LGBTQ activists launched the Free CeCe campaign, which brought attention to the plight of trans women of color in prison. Her story is chronicled in the documentary Free CeCe!
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Since being released in January 2014, McDonald has used her platform to educate people about gender, race and the prison abolition movement. "Everyday trans, gender non-conforming and queer people, that are also people of color, have to wake up with their lives in question from fear of how this world will fail them," she explains in a statement. "I do this work so those questions never have to be asked again."
Allen has built a career speaking about racial and gender justice to the media, in classrooms and at workshops.
"Queer, trans and gender non-conforming people of color have been at the forefront of movements for social justice for thousands of years," Allen says in his own statement. "Our voices, our experiences and our lives matter."
The two are "touring on a very DIY scale as #BlackExcellenceTour," Slater says. At Auraria, the two will discuss their personal stories and engage in a community-wide conversation about trans of color identity, visibility politics, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights and fighting the rising tide of violence against trans communities.
The free discussion takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, in room 2600 of the Student Commons Building, 1201 Larimer Street; a reception will follow. For more information, go to the event's Facebook page.