Here's what's going on, from the website SupportCeCe. WARNING: this quote describes a really foul violent incident, which involved racist and transphobic slurs and people getting hurt.
CeCe McDonald is a young African American transgender woman charged with “second degree murder” after an incident that began when she was violently attacked because of her gender and race.
CeCe is a creative and energetic person who, before her life was so unjustly interrupted, was studying fashion at MCTC. She had a stable home where she lived with and helped support four other African American youth, her family. CeCe’s family describes her as a leader, a role model, and a loyal friend. She is known as a wise, out-spoken, and welcoming person, with a cheerful disposition and a history of handling prejudice with amazing grace.
Around 12:30 am on June 5, CeCe and four of her friends (all of them black) were on their way to Cub Foods to get some food. As they walked past Schooner’s Bar in South Minneapolis, a man and two women (all of them white) began to yell epithets at them. They called CeCe and her friends ‘faggots,’ ‘niggers,’ and ‘chicks with dicks,’ amongst other things.
As they were shouting, one of the women smashed her drink into the side of CeCe’s face, slicing her cheek open, lacerating her salivary gland, and stinging her eyes with liquor. A fight ensued, with more people joining in. What happened during the fight is unclear, but within a few minutes Dean Schmitz–one of the attackers–had been stabbed.
CeCe was later arrested, and is now falsely accused of murder
For a month, CeCe was kept in solitary confinement “for her own protection”; she had no say in this matter. Finally, she was transferred to a psychiatric unit in the Public Safety Facility. It was nearly two months before she was taken back to a doctor to check up on the wound on her face, which by then had turned into a painful, golf ball-sized lump.
Later on, CeCe’s friends were harassed on the street by people they recognized from the scene of the fight. Individuals circled the block that CeCe’s friends were walking on and called them ‘niggers’ and ‘faggots’ and told them to ‘go back to Africa.’ When they attempted to wave down a passing squad car for assistance, the officer driving the car said he would not help them.
Everything about this is wrong, down to the murder charge. Dean Schmitz died after initiating a transphobic, racist attack on CeCe McDonald and her friends. It's probable that CeCe or someone in her group killed him, perhaps by accident, while he was assaulting them. That is not murder of any degree. That is self-defense.
Here's the thing: it could so easily have been CeCe who died that night. Trans women of color die all the time for no other reason than because cis white men want them dead. And when the scenario plays out that way, it's not uncommon for the murderers to face charges that are a lot less serious than second-degree murder -- if the police bother to find them at all.
I'm furious and sad that these people attacked and hurt CeCe and her friends because of their race and gender identities. I'm so glad that CeCe survived this attack. Now she is being punished for keeping herself alive, and she needs our help.
Here are some things you can do:
- Go to http://supportcece.wordpress.com and donate money towards CeCe's bail, so that she can get out of jail and back to her family.
- Write a letter. You can write to CeCe to express your support, or write a letter to the editor about her case.
- You can distribute fliers and literature to let people know what's going on.
- Finally, if you have a blog or a tumblr or a twitter or a facebook or email or a phone or if you see people in person, spread the word. Post links, reblog, tell people about it, ask them to donate, ask them to visit the SupportCeCe website.
Let's all do something. Please. Thank you.