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'There's still more to do:' Breed responds to criticism at Black Trans Lives Matter event

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed spoke at a Black Trans Lives Matter event outside City Hall Friday, September 25. Photo: Screengrab via Instagram
San Francisco Mayor London Breed spoke at a Black Trans Lives Matter event outside City Hall Friday, September 25. Photo: Screengrab via Instagram  

San Francisco Mayor London Breed received some pushback during a Black Trans Lives Matter event September 25 outside City Hall.

"I'm proud to be here and standing for our Black trans community in San Francisco," the mayor said. "Don't tell me that Black Lives Matter unless that includes all Black people — our trans brothers and sisters.

"All the support we've had in the last few months — it's like nothing we've ever experienced before," Breed said. "I'm more excited that we take these protests and channel them into action."

Breed expressed her optimism, buoyed by the protests against police violence and for racial equality after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis this spring.

But as Breed began to speak about a family member who was killed in 2006, another person on the City Hall steps behind her interrupted, saying that Black trans people are not receiving adequate help from the city (that person's remarks were not fully audible on the event's livestream.)

"We're going to fix that," the mayor said.

"She did not get $1," the individual responded. "There was not one Black trans person who was able to get subsidies. I'm going to stand up and advocate for my community."

"I'm sorry that happened and we will fix it," the mayor said. "The reason why I do this is because I want to change the disparity. Clearly there's still more to do.

"I don't mind being criticized and having the hard conversations because people's lives are at stake," she added.

The City Hall event, Black Trans Lives Matter - Bridging Black Trans Lives: Advancing Racial Equity for All Black Lives, was put on by a partnership of at least nine community groups, including Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community — Justice 4 Mario Woods and the Transgender District.

"Black people in America have a unique experience we hope nobody else has to deal with," Breed said. "That challenge is even harder for our trans brothers and sisters."

Breed cited a statistic that while Black San Franciscans are three times more likely than others to be unemployed, the number increases to six times when referring specifically to Black trans people.

"Don't get mad when I say we are going to invest millions of dollars into Our Trans Home SF," Breed said. "Don't get mad when I say we're going to divert $120 million from the police department to support the Black community, including our trans brothers and sisters."

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, Breed's balanced budget proposal last month $2 million annually for trans housing subsidies over the next two years. She is also, with District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, spearheading plans to divert funds from the San Francisco Police Department to support the Black community. The African American Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, which had reserves of $3.2 million as of late August, will provide no-interest loans of up to $50,000 to Black-owned businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The mayor ended her remarks encouraging people to vote in the coming presidential election, and saying, "our lives don't matter until Black Trans Lives Matter."

Walton, the only Black member of the Board of Supervisors, spoke shortly before Breed, saying, "we know that the disparities we experience as Black people are exponentially amplified when you are Black and trans."

"I am here to stand with our Black trans community," Walton said. "As a member of the Board of Supervisors, we are going to continue to address those disparities for our Black trans community. There is no Black Lives Matter movement without the Black trans movement."

Phelicia Jones, the founder of Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community - Justice 4 Mario Woods, introduced a moment of silence for George Floyd, Mario Woods, Breonna Taylor and "all other victims of police murder."

At least 15 shots were fired at Woods by San Francisco police in 2015. The Louisville, Kentucky police officers who killed Taylor in February were not charged in her death by a grand jury earlier this week.

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