Hello sisters,

Saturday, November 20 is this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance and it concludes Transgender Awareness Week. As a parent to a transgender son, this week holds special importance for me. It was started in 1999 to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in Massachusetts. Since then, a vigil has been held each year to remember all of those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence.

Omega Phi Alpha prides itself on being inclusive and welcoming to all persons and so it aligns with our values to focus on endeavors that advocate for the advancement of basic rights and respect for those who are oppressed. 

The transgendered community has a dark and unfortunate history of violence and oppression. Since January 2021, there have already been 40 transgender murders just in the United States and hundreds worldwide. The full list of names since last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance can be found here. It’s important to also remember that these are only the deaths that have been properly reported. Many do not get reported at all or, due to mismanagement and misunderstanding from the local authorities and communities, are misreported. 

It is believed that much of the violence the community receives is due to poor representation by the media and Hollywood, which often leads to fear. This fear is evidenced by current bathroom bills and the Presidential military ban on trans service. 

This year, to help commemorate the day, I encourage all our members to watch the Netflix documentary “Disclosure”, which highlights how decades of stereotypes, memes, tropes, and more within the media have formed and reflect our society’s understanding of trans issues.

In addition to remembering all those lost, we can use this opportunity to ensure that we are implementing inclusion at all levels of our organization, providing support to those who are transgendered or non-binary, and educating ourselves and each other on how to be good allies. 

Change starts in small ways and on community levels, so I challenge the members of Omega Phi Alpha to continue to be beacons for the rest of the world!

Forever in Service,
Brittany Thornton
National President