NCAVP mourns the death of Diamond Stephens, a 39 year-old black transgender woman, in Meridian, MS

NCAVP mourns the death of Diamond Stephens, a 39 year-old black transgender woman, in Meridian, MS.  As reported in Transgriot, Stephens was found dead on Monday, June 18 from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Meridian police are still looking for a suspect and motive. This marks the 11th loss of a black transgender woman in 2018.

NCAVP was made aware of the incident only recently due to police and news media misgendering and deadnaming the victim in reports.

A vigil was held to celebrate her incredible personality and her life. Police and family members encourage anyone with information to call 855-485-8477.

We send our love and care to her friends and loved ones.

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

Tips To Stay Safe during PRIDE

Every year, millions of LGBTQ people and our allies attend events, rallies, and marches around the world commemorating the Stonewall Riots while celebrating our queer identities. Pride holds a lot of significance for LGBTQ people, in remembering both our history and present, as we continue the fight for equity and justice.

Yet despite some legislative wins and cultural shifts, there is still much to be done for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ people – especially in regards to curbing and ending anti-LGBTQ hate violence. In the last few months, the Anti-Violence Project has tracked numerous incidents across the country in which LGBTQ bars and nightclubs were targeted for hate violence.

 
As New York City began pride season this month, with pride celebrations in Queens and Brooklyn, there has been an uptick in violence locally as well.

During Queens Pride, 25 year-old elementary school teacher Brandon Soriano was physically attacked by a group of men as they yelled anti-gay slurs. Five days later, a transgender undocumented woman, who wishes to remain anonymous fearing deportation, was stabbed five times. These two incidents happened blocks from each other.

While preparing for Pride celebrations, it’s important to create a safety plan before attending the events or parties:

  • If at all possible, don’t attend Pride events alone. Designate a Pride buddy that can act as an accountability partner and safety plan with them.
  • Let someone who won’t be with you know your plans for the day/night. Let that person know who you’ll be with and if plans change. Brainstorm in advance ways people can contact and support you.
  • Charge your electronics and bring chargers and/or extra battery packs.
  • Write down phone numbers of friends or family on a piece of paper in case your cell phone dies.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Locate public spaces and 24-hour businesses to seek help if you feel unsafe.
  • Always trust your instincts. If you feel threatened or unsafe, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.
  • Notify event organizers or nightclub staff if you face violence or harassment for immediate support.
  • Use words to alert bystanders and get away if you can.

 
When gathering as a community for Pride celebrations, it’s important to be intentional in maintaining safety in the space together. Pride goers who witness violence can curb it by intervening, when it is safe to do so.

  • Consider your power and privilege in a situation, and consider the ways in which you can be most effective in helping another. Many times the best way to intervene doesn’t require becoming physically involved.
  • If you witness hate violence you can make your presence known by asking questions and talking to both the survivor and the perpetrator.
  • Speak up, be LOUD, and call out what’s happening: identifying violence by name can help deter it.
  • Distract and divert the attacker’s attention by making a scene, and being noisy to draw the attention of others.
  • Record what’s happening by taking video on your phone.
  • Ask what support the survivor needs and provide it if you can.
  • If the violence is being perpetrated by the police you can record, observe, and verbally intervene, but physically intervening is illegal. Get the names, badge and car numbers of officers involved.

 
As always, AVP is here for you whether you’re a bystander or survivor: Save our hotline number (212-714-1141) into your phone and call us for safety planning help or support.

Call on Congress to stop family separation and protect immigrant survivors

NCAVP joins The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence in calling for Congress to stop family separation and protect immigrant survivors!

Call Your Member of Congress today to Stop Family Separation and Protect Immigrant Survivors.

Find your Congressional Representative here and Tell Them to Oppose the two pending “moderate” (sic) Immigration Bills that Harm Survivors of Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on two harmful immigration bills on Thursday, Please urge your Representatives to VOTE NO on:

Both of these bills attempt to address the Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for several hundred thousand young people, but unnecessarily restrict access to the program, make drastic reductions to legal immigration, and eliminate protections for vulnerable children, many of whom are fleeing sexual and domestic violence or human trafficking, created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). Also, neither of these bills will stop the Administration’s inhumane and shameful family separation policy.

Call your Representative today! Find your Representative to Congress here, using your zip code.

What To Say:

My name is _______and I’m calling from . I’m calling today to tell to vote NO on both the Goodlatte bill (HR 4760) and the Paul Ryan Border Security And Immigration Reform Act (HR 6136). These bills will harm domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, fail to adequately protect Dreamers, limit protections existing for abused and neglected children, and fail to address the family separation crisis at the border.

Background Information:

The American Immigration Lawyers’ Association has a brief summary of both bills available here.

Specific Impacts of HR 4760 on immigrant survivors:

  • Eliminates the ability of abused parents of U.S. citizens to apply for VAWA self-petition protections
  • Places limits on individuals on temporary worker (H) visas from filing civil actions for damages against their employers, potentially limiting the ability of those sexually assaulted or harassed at work from accessing justice
  • Establishes a benefit fraud assessment on various immigration programs including VAWA self-petitions, fiancée visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile Visas, U-Crime victim visas, and asylum, among other immigration programs
  • Bars abused family members, including abused ex-spouses, of drug traffickers from obtaining legal status.
  • Undermines policies that local welcoming jurisdictions have determined are Constitutionally sound and are appropriate for their respective communities, and they decrease the ability of local law enforcement agencies to respond to violent crimes and assist all victims of crime, U.S. Citizens and immigrants alike.
  • Attempts to coerce local law enforcement agencies into sharing information with ICE by placing restrictions on federal law enforcement funding in grant conditions.
  • Expands criminal penalties for those who are present without authorization.
  • Expands immigration penalties for individuals with domestic violence convictions, as well as the types of evidence immigration courts can consider in deporting individuals with domestic violence convictions.
  • Reduces access to Special Immigrant Juvenile status for abused and neglected children.

 

Specific Impacts of HR 6136 on immigrant survivors:

  • Excludes more potential DREAMERS from accessing a new “contingent visa” by excluding more individuals with certain domestic violence and child abuse convictions. The bill cross-references the broad Violence Against Women Act definitions of domestic violence and child abuse to exclude more potential DACA beneficiaries with such convictions. This cross-reference will create difficulties in expanding access to services for victims in other, future VAWA legislation by tying the definitions in VAWA to immigration consequences.
  • Expands definitions relating to domestic violence as a basis for deporting individuals and fails to provide exceptions or waivers for survivors who may have used violence against their abusers.
  • Undermines the work of local communities who’ve implemented welcoming policies that reduce law enforcement collaboration with ICE, policies that encourage immigrant victims to come forward, seek help, and cooperate with police.
  • Undermines important protections for minors who are fleeing sexual assault, domestic violence, and abuse who arrive from Northern Triangle countries, making it easier to deport them back to their countries from which they are fleeing violence.
  • Makes it harder for asylum seekers to flee persecution by increasing the standard of proof need to apply, likely halving the number of asylum seekers. By changing the law to facilitate the quick deportations of asylum seekers and make it harder to apply for asylum, victims fleeing sexual and domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence, who could articulate a genuine fear of persecution will be deported anyway without the chance to collect evidence or present witnesses before a judge.

 

For more information contact ghuang@api-gbv.org.

NCAVP Submits Response to Proposed Changes to National Crime Victimization Survey

NCAVP Submits Response to Proposed Changes to National Crime Victimization Survey

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced a change to the National Crime Victimization Survey that would raise the age for questions asking about sexual orientation and gender identity from 16 to 18 years old claiming concerns about the potential sensitivity of these questions for adolescents. Through our collaboration on the National LGBTQ Institute on Intimate Partner Violence, NCAVP has submitted comments to the Bureau of Justice Statistics denouncing this action as harmful to LGBTQ communities and dispelling the myth that these questions are harmful for adolescents.

For over 20 years, NCAVP has released reports with information on how LGBTQ and HIV communities are impacted by violence, including hate violence and intimate partner violence. Through these reports, we have witnessed the power of information and data collection in advocating for the needs of LGBTQ survivors of violence.

Simultaneously, we advocate for data collection systems that are sensitive to the needs of survivors, private, and confidential. The NCVS already meets national standards for data collection, and this decision by the BJS should be called out for what it is – a political move that aims to erase the experiences LGBTQ survivors of violence.

NCAVP will continue to advocate for safe and inclusive data collection systems so that our experiences are counted and the violence that we experience can be meaningfully addressed.

Read full comments: NCVS Institute Comments

 

A message from the Executive Director: We must work to better support our LGBTQ youth

Dear friends,

We are heartbroken and disturbed by the tragic and fatal stabbing that occurred on the morning of Wednesday, September 27 at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx. We mourn the death of Matthew McCree and hope for the recovery of Ariane LaBoy. Our hearts go out to Abel Cedeno, the families of all three of the youth involved, and the entire school and neighboring community in which the lives of so many have been irrevocably altered by this tragedy.

We call on the mayor and school officials to respond swiftly to this tragedy: not only to the fatal stabbing, but to address the bullying that appears was an integral part of this fatal incident, and work to create a safer and healing environment for the future. According to recent news reports, Cedeno’s family and friends have said he was the victim of anti-gay bullying since the start of the school year, and in fact had been bullied since middle school. We know all too well that bullying, harassment and other anti-LGBT violence in schools causes serious harm to the students targeted.  According to GLSEN, 57.6% of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 43.3% because of their gender expression, resulting in 42.5% of LGBTQ students who reported that they did not plan to finish high school, or were not sure if they would finish, or indicated that they were considering dropping out because of the harassment they faced at school.

We do not believe that the addition of metal detectors is the real solution to this tragedy, and caution against responding to this incident of violence by increasing the policing and potential criminalization of our youth, especially youth of color. We strongly believe that all three youth involved are victims who needed the support and action of the adults around them to intervene, and we hope we can move forward without further demonizing them in this moment.

This stabbing has come on the heels of the news of the horrific murder of 17-year-old Ally Lee Steinfeld, in Missouri, which occurred in early September as a result of transphobia and dating violence. And we just learned of the vicious attack on Kylie Perez, a young transgender student at East Side High in Newark, which also occurred on school grounds. This news comes at a time when we are seeing a significant increase in hate violence towards LGBTQ people and others both locally and nationally. Last month we released a report, Crisis of Hate, to bring attention to the fact that at this point in the year, we have already recorded the highest number of hate violence-related homicides of LGBTQ people in our 20-year history of tracking this information.

It’s clear that as a country, and in community, we must work to better support our youth during some of the most vulnerable and important times of their lives, and to address the climate of hate against LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants and others that is growing at an alarming rate. We need to work to ensure that our schools—as well as other public spaces—are affirming and safe environments for young people of all identities, and that school officials and teachers are well equipped to address and prevent bullying and other forms of anti-LGBTQ violence. We call upon our communities to address not only the symptoms of violence as it plays out in our homes, schools, and workplaces, but to address the underlying root causes that fuel this violence, like racism, transphobia, homophobia, and more. And we call upon our communities to seek restorative and healing responses to violence that offer support, not punitive measures, to all in need.

AVP offers our support to students, family members and school officials in addressing and healing from this tragedy. Our hotline and counseling services are available any time to LGBTQ youth who may be experiencing anti-LGBTQ violence, and to those who are trying to support those youth.

Until we are all safe and free,

Beverly Tillery

NCAVP mourns the police violence homicide of Scout Schultz in Atlanta, GA

NCAVP mourns the death of Scout Schultz, who was shot and killed on September 16th, 2017 by Georgia Tech Campus Police in Atlanta, Georgia. According to press reports, Schultz was in emotional distress when they walked toward police carrying a knife before they were shot. It has been reported that Schultz identified as nonbinary, bisexual, and intersex, used they/them pronouns, and was the president of Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance. Protests were held on the Georgia Tech campus following Schultz’s death.

We mourn the loss of Scout Schultz, and send love and care to their friends and loved ones. Schultz’s family spoke out, sharing that they had a history of emotional and mental health issues and had attempted to self-harm in the past. Georgia Tech Campus Police responded with deadly force, which Schultz’s family has said they do not believe was necessary and plan to bring a civil rights lawsuit.

Each year, NCAVP records homicides where police use excessive force against our communities, especially transgender and gender non-conforming people and LGBTQ people of color. We join so many in our communities demanding justice and accountability for Scout Schultz’s homicide at the hands of the police, and calling for increased competency by police in responding to individuals who are manifesting signs and symptoms of mental illness.

In memory of Scout Schultz.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

Join Vice President Joseph R. Biden at the 21st Annual Courage Awards!

The Board of Directors of the New York City Anti-Violence Project cordially invites you to the:

Courage Awards

Wednesday, October 11th
6:00 – 9:30 PM*
Current, Pier 59, Chelsea Piers**
23rd Street and West Side Highway

*details on VIP reception forthcoming.
**Please note, Current at Chelsea Piers is an updated location. The Courage Awards will not be held at Broad Street Ballroom.

Honoring:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden

A steadfast champion of LGBTQ justice and the rights of LGBTQ survivors of violence.

Also Honoring:

David France, Victoria Cruz, and the cast and crew of The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

VICE Media

For boldly speaking out and finding powerful and creative ways to galvanize us all to work for safety and justice.

Co-Chairs

Brian Friedman*
Bea Hanson
Mike Hofman*
Selenis Leyva
Dara Major*
Sharon Stapel

Host Committee

Will Chamberlin*
Shelby Chestnut
Hon. Thomas K. Duane*
Max Emerson
Aditi Hardikar
Kevin Krueger*
Alexandro Padres*
Clarence Patton
Stan Ponte &
John Metzner
Ian Tattenbaum*
Beverly Tillery
Christopher Tine &
Michael Ohlhausen
Thomas Zuzelo*

Sponsors (as of 9/15/17)

Protector
Gerald J. Friedman Transgender Health & Wellness Center at Northwell Lenox Hill

Sustainer
Macquarie
Stan Ponte & John Metzner

Activist
AllianceBernstein
Joy Tomchin
Stan Tomchin

Advocate
Akerman LLP
Kevin Krueger* & Spencer Joffrion
Venable Foundation

Champion
Christopher Street Financial
Todd E. Grasinger
Mike Hofman
Kenneth T. Monteiro & Leo J. Blackman
Ian Tattenbaum* & Larry Holtzin

Partner
Dara Major*
Rich Palermo & & Steve Metzner
Thomas Salatte* & Christopher Bendixen
Chris Tuttle* & Marcelino Gonzalez
Thomas Zuzelo

                

           

*Board of Directors

 

One Month after Charlottesville: A Call to LGBTQ White Folks to Step Up!

by Catherine Shugrue dos Santos, MSW
Co-Director of Client Services at AVP

One month ago today, Nazis and white supremacists inflicted pain and violence in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, and we simply can’t afford to let our feelings of disgust and outrage fade. If we, as white people, do not stand up, step up, and actively fight each and every effort by hate groups and the government to roll back the rights of people of color, we are not truly fighting for LGBTQ equality.

White supremacy reinforces and engenders all oppression—patriarchy, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, anti-immigrant bias, anti-HIV bias, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, classism, ableism, and hatred in all forms. As white queer and trans folks, we must recognize that this violent extremism does not represent anything new, and that the real danger to our nation is not only white cisgender straight men marching with torches through the streets. The real danger here is our collective white silence, and the tendency for us who sit in our power and privilege on the sidelines.

I am not proud when I catch myself still feeling shocked and surprised in moments while scrolling through my newsfeed – because I realize that moment of surprise is all about my privilege. I would love to think that the world really is getting better, that the election of President Trump is an unfortunate period in our history that will pass, even if I do nothing. At first, I was hurt when people of color whom I love and work alongside every day told me they were not surprised when Trump won, and even seemed impatient with how heartbroken I felt.  Because I wasn’t directly impacted by racism and white supremacy as a white person, I could believe we were on our way to better times.

As a social worker, and a queer anti-violence advocate, I knew we were not done. I never believed we were in a post-racial society, or that President Obama singlehandedly ended racism by being elected. I knew that the same Supreme Court who struck down DOMA also dismantled the Voting Rights Act, and that we had much more to do.  But was I ready for the return of emboldened white supremacists marching through an American town?  Even with all the work I have done, I wasn’t prepared—and that is on me.

As white people, we must challenge racism and white supremacy everywhere we see it rear its ugly head. We must stop the conversations about “all sides,” and “all lives matter,” in their tracks. We must stand up for what is right. We must denounce white supremacy in all its forms. We must fight to give up the privilege we have which we do not deserve, and did nothing to earn. We must do this because for all of us to thrive, we must create and live in a world where racism is not allowed to flourish, but is eradicated.

I believe we can work together, that we must do so, because as Ella Watkins says, our liberation really is bound together. As queer white folks who experience homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia every day, we have to realize that we are all in danger from white supremacy and racism.  We must use our white privilege to fight oppression and injustice, as aspiring allies to communities of color, and particularly to our own queer and trans communities of color.  If we do that, I believe it is possible for us to reach the America I was taught existed, where everyone is valued and free.  As Langston Hughes said:

O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath—

America will be!

Mid-Year Report on LGBTQ Hate Violence Homicides Released Today

Today the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released a report, A Crisis of Hate: Mid-Year Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Hate Violence Homicides.

For 20 years, NCAVP has released national research reports on the ways LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities experience hate violence. Within these reports, NCAVP shares information about anti-LGBTQ homicides for the previous year. However, in just August of 2017, NCAVP has recorded the highest number of anti-LGBTQ homicides in our whole history of tracking this information.

  • As of August 23rd, 2017, NCAVP has recorded reports of 36 hate violence related homicides of LGBTQ and HIV affected people, the highest single incident number ever recorded by NCAVP.
  • This number represents a 29% increase in single incident reports from 2016.
  • So far in 2017, there has been nearly one homicide a week of an LGBTQ person in the U.S.

 

NCAVP has decided to issue this report early in hopes that it will raise awareness of the crisis of fatal violence against LGBTQ and HIV affected communities, and will compel people to take action to end this violence. Some key findings include:

  • The victims of these hate violence related homicides have overwhelmingly been transgender women and queer, bi, or gay cisgender men.
  • There was a significant increase of reports of homicides of queer, bi, or gay cisgender men, from 4 reports in 2016 to 17 reports in 2017.
  • In August of 2017, NCAVP has already collected information on 19 hate-violence related homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people this year, compared to 19 reports for the entire year of 2016. 16 of these homicides were of transgender women of color.

 

NCAVP hopes that this sharing this information now will encourage people to reject anti-LGBTQ bias whenever it occurs, and to resist any hateful rhetoric or policies put forward by this administration or by legislators.

 “We are calling on decent people across this country to speak out against hateful speech, threats, and violence against LGBTQ people whenever it occurs. We call on elected officials and policy makers to reject hateful legislation such as Religious Exemption bills and so-called “bathroom bills.” And we call on everyone to stand up to our current administration and congress and let them know that harmful policies or legislation against any marginalized group will face the full force of our united opposition.” 

– Beverly Tillery, Executive Director, New York City Anti-Violence Project

Read and download and share the full report.

The time for addressing this crisis of hate is now.

NCAVP mourns the homicide of Josie Berrios, a transgender woman of color killed in Ithaca, New York

Josie Berrios’ homicide is the 13th reported killing of a transgender person of color NCAVP has responded to in 2017

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) mourns the homicide of Josie Berrios, a transgender woman of color, killed in Ithaca, New York on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017. According to media reports, Josie was found dead at a building site that was under construction. Michael Davis, 45, was arrested and charged in connection with Josie’s death and is alleged to have had a personal relationship with her. Josie, who also went by the name Kendra Marie Adams, was remembered in an outpouring of love and grief by friends on social media.

“We continue to send care and support to everyone who knew Josie and has been impacted by this tragic loss,” said LaLa Zannell, Lead Organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “Every life lost to violence feels devastating. The most that we can hope for that is that when people hear this story, and the stories of so many lives of transgender women of color that have been taken before, that they will take action to make their communities safer and affirming for transgender women. We all have the opportunity to challenge the ways that transphobia and racism show up in our communities.”

NCAVP’s most recent hate violence report, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2016, recorded 77 total hate violence related homicides of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people in 2016, including the 49 mostly LGBTQ and Latinx lives lost in the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June of 2016. Outside of those lives lost during the shooting at Pulse Nightclub, there were 28 homicides of LGBTQ people, an increase of 17% from 24 in 2015. Of the 28 reported non-Pulse hate violence homicides 79% were people of color, 19 were transgender and gender non-conforming people, and 17 were transgender women of color.

NCAVP has been in contact with local organizations in Ithaca to offer support and care during this difficult time.

NCAVP is a resource for anyone who experiences violence.  For more information, or to locate an anti-violence program in your area, please contact us at info@ncavp.org or visit us online.  Join NCAVP in our efforts to prevent and respond to LGBTQ and HIV-affected violence.  To learn more about our national advocacy and receive technical assistance or support, contact us at info@ncavp.org.

If you are a member of the media, please contact:
Sue Yacka, New York City Anti-Violence Project: syacka@avp.org or 212-714-1184

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities.  NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change.  NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

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