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This Black trans activist is fighting to shield her community from an epidemic of violence

February 20, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 19.3%. 1 min read.

As a teenage runaway in the foster care system and forced into homelessness, Vanessa Warri's childhood was marked by trauma -- but she's overcoming her early circumstances despite the odds.

"Black transgender women rarely make it past 35," she said.

In many ways, Warri knows she's an exception to an often cruel reality for many Black transgender youth and women.

Last year was the deadliest one on record for transgender Americans, with Black transgender women accounting for two-thirds of total recorded deaths since 2013, according the Human Rights Campaign.

"Violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people, particularly Black and Brown transgender women, is an epidemic that needs national leadership," Biden said.

"Black trans women are unfortunately at the bottom, because Black people are at the bottom, and if you're trans you're at the bottom within the LGBTQ community. "

As the only Black trans woman in her UCLA program, Warri is researching the ways in which social determinants like health care access, safe housing, and financial literacy impact the reality for people in her community.

The rally featured several powerful speeches, including an emotional call to action from Melania Brown, the sister of Layleen Polanco, a Black and Latinx transgender woman who was found dead in her Rikers Island jail cell in 2019.

As an advisory board member for the organization Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society, GLITS, Warri is currently working alongside her mentor and surrogate "auntie" Ceyenne Doroshow to provide housing for transgender individuals in need of a safe space to call home.

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