This Transgender Awareness Month, we uplift the release of ‘Afterlives: The Layleen Polanco Story,” a new iHeart podcast about the life and untimely death of Afro-Latine trans woman, Layleen Polanco. In 2019, Layleen died while being held at the notorious Rikers Island in solitary confinement, despite known mental and physical health issues.
On June 7th, 2019, Layleen suffered an epileptic seizure while in confinement and was rendered no medical aid by staff for nearly an hour which could have saved her life. Staff was seen laughing and joking while observing Layleen’s lifeless body, and as with most cases of law enforcement officers and staff, no one was held responsible for Layleen’s preventable death.
Three days following Layleen’s death, AVP held a memorial rally in support of her loved ones, then sent a letter with a list of demands to then-Governor Andrew Cuomo and then-Mayor Bill de Blasio. The demands included the disbandment of solitary confinement and restrictive housing units in New York State and decriminalizing sex work in New York State among others.
AVP’s Executive Director, Beverly Tillery, joins host Raquel Willis in this seven-part series honoring Layleen’s life and powerful legacy and the work that still must be done to protect trans lives and move the needle towards LGBTQ+ liberation.
AVP continues to fight for accountability of law enforcement to ensure that there isn’t another Layleen Polanco, Kawaski Trawick, and all LGBTQ+ people are seen and protected by the law and its institutions.
Episode 1 of “Afterlives: The Layleen Polanco Story” is now streaming on all platforms.