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    Thursday, August 18, 2022

    New London flower vigil remembers queer, transgender people of color who died

    Nosame Correia of New London places a flower on the altar Tuesday, June 28, 2022, that represents Black and brown transgender, nonbinary and queer people that have died by violence in the United States between June 2021 and June 2022, with name tags of those that have died attached during the "Everyone Deserves Pride" vigil at New London City Hall. The event memorialized the lives of Black and brown transgender people that are victims of the highest rate of violence among the LGBTQIA+ community. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

    New London — On the front steps of City Hall, OutCT held its third-annual "Everyone Deserves Pride" vigil Tuesday night in an effort to remember the transgender people of color who lost their lives in the United States in the last year.

    The date — June 28 — marked the 53rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the 52nd anniversary of Pride.

    "This specific thing that I'm doing right here is to bring awareness of the people that this society thinks they can just throw away," said Chevelle Moss-Savage, OutCT's interim president and the event's organizer.

    The 37 queer and transgender people of color, or QTPOC, who lost their lives in the last year were honored with 37 white carnations. Each person's name and photo were wrapped around a flower and placed on a makeshift altar after their name was read aloud to those in attendance.

    Moss-Savage addressed the crowd regarding the event's history and significance before board member Kia Baird led everyone in a group prayer.

    "We are grateful this day for the opportunity to celebrate the lives of those beautiful siblings who were lost to us," Baird said.

    New London Mayor Michael Passero took the podium afterward and presented OutCT with a resolution on behalf of the city and the City Council, a number of whose members were in attendance.

    "This is a resolution of the city of New London supporting LGBTQ+ rights," Passero read.

    "Therefore, be it resolved that the mayor and City Council of the city of New London recognize that LGTBQ+ rights are human rights and are constitutionally protected," he continued.

    Passero and a member of OutCT then ceremonially raised a fluttering Pride Flag outside City Hall. The colors waving across the top were black and brown.

    Nosamè Correia concluded the event with a rendition of the song "Love" by Musiq Soulchild.

    "Once you invite love," Correia said after, "you define the destiny."

    Moss-Savage helped move the event from November's Transgender Day of Remembrance to June as a way to "bring awareness to the intersections of who we are as a people." She noticed during the Black Lives Matter protests and vigils in 2020, that those who identify as trans or nonbinary were not getting the same treatment as the likes of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

    The Stonewall Riots began after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village in New York City. Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latina trans woman, are credited with helping to spark the six days of protests on June 28, 1969.  

    Moss-Savage hopes for a day when vigils like Tuesday night's are no longer necessary. She looks forward to a world of "peace and love and acceptance and affirmation."

    But until then, she urges everyone to not stand by in silence.

    "Allyship is a verb," she said. "It is not a noun. It requires action."

    k.arnold@theday.com

    People bow their heads in prayer Tuesday, June 28, 2022, during the "Everyone Deserves Pride" vigil at New London City Hall. The event memorialized the lives of Black and brown transgender people that have the highest rate of violence among the LGBTQIA+ community. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
    Ann McNamara, second from left, is handed flowers that represent Black and brown transgender, nonbinary and queer people that have died by violence in the United States between June 2021 and June 2022, with name tags of those that have died attached Tuesday, June 28, 2022, before the start of the "Everyone Deserves Pride" vigil at New London City Hall. During the event all the names were read and people placed the flowers on an altar. The event memorialized the lives of Black and brown transgender people that are victims of the highest rate of violence among the LGBTQIA+ community. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
    Benjamin Crowley hands out flowers that represent Black and brown transgender, nonbinary and queer people that have died by violence in the United States between June 2021 and June 2022, with name tags of those that have died attached Tuesday, June 28, 2022, before the start of the "Everyone Deserves Pride" vigil at New London City Hall. During the event, all the names were read and people placed the flowers on an altar. The event memorialized the lives of Black and brown transgender people that are victims of the highest rate of violence among the LGBTQIA+ community. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
    Danni Cruz, a member of the New London Board of Education, in attendance to show his support, holds a flower Tuesday, June 28, 2022, with a name tag of a member of the Black and brown transgender, nonbinary and queer community who died by violence in the United States between June 2021 and June 2022 during the "Everyone Deserves Pride" vigil at New London City Hall. The event memorialized the lives of Black and brown transgender people that are victims of the highest rate of violence among the LGBTQIA+ community. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
    Xavier Day of New London, a member of the OutCT board of directors, raises the Pride flag Tuesday, June 28, 2022, at the end of the "Everyone Deserves Pride" vigil at New London City Hall. The event memorialized the lives of Black and brown transgender people that are victims of the highest rate of violence among the LGBTQIA+ community. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

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