Elle Hearns, a Black Lives Matter activist and self-proclaimed freedom fighter, gave a talk Saturday at CU’s Wolf Law building .
As a black, transgender woman, Hearns voiced a strong message for CU students and the Boulder community about transgender roles in American culture.
“You must learn who is being discarded from society,” Hearns said, referencing the recent deaths of 21-year-old Ciara McElveen in New Orleans and 28-year-old Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow in South Dakota. Both were black, transgender women.
Hearns discussed the way transgender people are seen in society. She suggested that instead of blaming individuals for committing harms against transgender people, America’s systemic issues are to blame.
“Black bodies are lying in the streets every single week. How quickly we’ve forgotten,” Hearns said.
Hearns also addressed how white allies can help transgender people, specifically black, transgender women. She suggested that instead of facilitating the conversation of gender and race, white allies must be more involved. Speaking up and paying attention to transgender plights encourage understanding and thought.
Hearns believes that trans people are not the only ones in transition. Every person is transitioning in some way in their life, and the country is too, Hearns said. According to her, it is important that this transition continues in peoples’ views of transgender people and race as a whole.
“We need to make sure that black people aren’t doing all that work alone,” Hearns said.
Contact CU Independent writer Maris Westrum at firstname.lastname@example.org.