Things That Matter

A Black Trans Woman Named Iyanna Dior Was Viciously Attacked By A Mob And Now She’s Speaking Out

As the nation reacted to the brutal murder of George Floyd and were forced to process yet another killing of an unarmed Black man, a Black trans woman was violently attacked by a mob in the same city George Floyd was killed.

Iyanna Dior, a Black trans woman – just 21-years-old, was brutally attacked by a group of 20-30 cis-gender men, who kicked, punched, and violently attacked her. Her attack is just the most recent in a string of attacks targeting the transgender community – especially Black trans people. A Black trans woman must face anti-Blackness within the LGBTQ community while also struggling against transphobia within the community at large – it’s a fight that many are being attacked over.

So, as the country struggles over violence against black bodies, attention must be paid to the everyday violence faced by Black trans people, especially trans women, too.

A group of men attacked Iyanna Dior, a 21-year-old Black trans woman, in Minneapolis.

As the U.S. sees massive protests and a growing movement bringing attention to systemic racism, the country is also being forced to face another fact: that Black trans people are being brutally attacked and killed.

Yet another video has gone viral, showing a group of 20-30 men attacking a Black trans woman in Minneapolis. The woman, 21-year-old Iyanna Dior, had been involved in a fender bender and was chased and beaten by bystanders after being unable to pay for the damage.

In the video, the mob was shown violently beating Dior as they called her homophobic and transphobic slurs outside of a convenience store. Dior eventually escaped from her attackers after bystanders intervened by standing between her and the group. She then slipped behind the store counter and out the back door.

A day after the attack, Dior took to Facebook to say she is OK, showing her extensive injuries.

Credit: Iyanna Dior / Facebook

“The whole side of my face is swollen. It hurts so bad. On my forehead, if you run your hands across it, these are knots. That’s a whole patch of scratches,” she said in the video. “My f—ing arm is just swollen, it hurts so bad. I need to go to the hospital. My lips are cut on the inside. A lot of s— happened.”

She followed the Facebook Live with a post that read,“BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER.”

Dior’s attack comes just as the country is reeling from several high-profile murders of Black Americans – many of whom have been trans.

The beating of Dior comes on the tail end of the fatal police shooting of Tony McDade, a 38-year-old black trans man in Tallahassee, Florida, which has sparked protests among the LGBTQ community.

Activists have also brought attention to the murder of Nina Pop, 28, who was found dead in her apartment in Missouri early last month. Both McDade and Pop were initially misgendered by police departments when they released information about their deaths.

Experts have long been warning about an “epidemic” of violence against trans women of color.

In 2019, 26 transgender and non-binary people were murdered, according to the Human Rights Campaign. And of those 26, 91% were Black women. Let that sink in for a moment.

It’s obvious that the U.S. is in a crisis – especially when it comes to the systemic attacks against Black trans people. Following the now viral video of Dior’s attack, several high-profile Black trans women have taken to social media to voice their support for her and to bring awareness to the growing epidemic of violence.

The crisis is so bad that just last year, the American Medical Association adopted new policies intended to put an end to an “epidemic” of violence against trans women, particularly trans women of color. The organization, which counts 250,000 US medics as members, called on healthcare workers to recognize these attacks as a public health issue, urging medics to document violence against trans people, and collaborate with law enforcement on investigations into abuses. 

So far in 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 12 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been killed.

Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

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Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

Nathan Howard / Getty

In the twenty years since Oprah Winfrey established her periodical publication O Magazine, only she has ever graced the cover. For the first time in the magazine’s publication, a different face is now featured and it’s one we hope you continue to remember: Breonna Taylor.

The  26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician was murdered in the middle of the night on March 13 after being fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove. While initially, her death sparked outrage, it wasn’t until a few months later that the murder of George Floyd (a Black man also killed by the police) that a national reaction came about. The slow national reaction to her death and the demands for answers from her loved one’s ultimately initiated conversations about the care and concern offered to Black women in the United States and reminded those watching of how much work needs to be done to support them. And while the initial blast of the May BLM protests has waned, it appears Winfrey is determined to keep the fire going.

In a post about this month’s issue, Oprah reminded users we can’t be silent.

In an essay published on the O magazine site, Winfrey described the ways in which she felt she identified with Taylor. She also shared her own vision for helping honor Taylor’s life and the dreams the deceased 26-year-old had for herself.

“She was just like me. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter,” Winfrey wrote. “I think about Breonna Taylor often. She was the same age as the two daughter-girls from my school in South Africa who’ve been quarantining with Stedman and me since March. In all their conversations I feel the promise of possibilities. Their whole lives shine with the light of hopefulness. That was taken away from Breonna in such a horrifying manner. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice.

O magazine’s cover features a portrait of Taylor, created byAlexis Franklin.

The digital artist created the image from a selfie Taylor took while wearing her EMS shirt. The original selfie has circulated heavily with coverage on Taylor’s death. On the magazine cover, the words “Her life mattered” are written next to Taylor’s face.

According to an essay written by Franklin for O magazine, the young artist was inspired by Taylor’s power in the image. “Looking at [the source photo], I see an innocence, simple but powerful. It was critical for me to retain that,” she wrote. “And there was a sparkle in Breonna’s eyes — a young Black woman posing in her Louisville EMS shirt, happy to be alive.”

Latinas Are Forcing Themselves To Examine How They Are Showing Up For The Black Community

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Latinas Are Forcing Themselves To Examine How They Are Showing Up For The Black Community

Eze Amos / Getty

Months have passed since the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd but members of the Black community continue to fight against police brutality. While news reports of protests might have slowed down, it’s important to know that showing up for Black people has so much power.

Recently, we asked Latinas “How are we showing up for our Black brothers and sisters?” and the answers were pretty humbling.

Recognize the relative privileges we have

“This week has been so, so heavy, but we need to ask ourselves how we are showing up for the Black community outside of the weeks when headlines are grim and cities are on fire. How are we showing up for Black people in our everyday lives? 365 days a year? I am speaking specifically to my community here: [Non-Black] Latinxs, we have so far to go when it comes to protecting the dignity of our own people, I know. I know our people are also hurting. But we HAVE to recognize the relative privileges we have and the ways in which the Black community’s freedom is directly tied to our own. We all deserve dignity. We all deserve the ability to move through the world without fearing for our lives. Some of us haven’t ever had to worry about that—so what are we doing to help those who do worry for their safety and the safety of loved ones every single day? Please pay attention. Please speak out and hold the people in your life accountable. We are ALL responsible. We all need to be doing more—no matter our race or ethnicity. Please, let’s take care of each other.” – @ludileiva

Show up to protests

“Showing up to local peaceful protests and talking to my family and friends about how we need to stand together. It is my hope our black brothers and sisters will stand with us when we have to face our government on DACA and caged children.” – lil_yo11

Donate and give

“Definitely by donating, signing petitions, educating others on issues like this that affect the black community, posting about it, and speaking out when it happens. Our voices and actions definitely need to be heard during this time.”- belleza_xoxo

Continue to fight

“Many of us ARE. And we need to do even MORE. This hurts me because although there is colorism out there, there are also respectful and supporting people who want to do more and more. I hope more people saw that too. Anyways, my family and I will continue fighting strong for this movement. Because BLACK LIVES MATTER. THEY SURELY DO.” – mid.nicole

Hold others accountable

“By holding people accountable. By talking about privilege even if it makes people uncomfortable! Becoming part of the conversation because if you don’t and look the other way you are part of the problem. Make people uncomfortable! Make people realize that our system needs to be redone so justice can be served for our fallen brothers. Being black, being of color shouldn’t be a death sentence.” – koayafilm

Connect with others

“We are each other’s hope 🙏🏽 sharing on your story is great, but never forget the power of human connection. talk to people, have these conversations & hear the pain, empathy & hope in our voices.”- raquelmariaquintana

Educate ourselves and our families

“We show solidarity! There’s still so much racism within our own Latino community over darker skin color. I know because my abuela was Afro Latina.Things need to change. We need to educate our own families about racism. We need to sign petitions, donating, having conversations. I see many people quiet about what’s going on.” – angieusc7

Keep certain words out of your mouth

“Well we could start by abolishing the expressions “negro” y “negra” as a form of endearment to call for someone of dark complexion. I know some will say it’s a form of endearment, but it just degrades the person called upon by only identifying them by their skin colour. You are calling them by their complexion and therefore reducing a whole persons existence and achievements by the colour of their skin.” –christian.aaby

Hold your family accountable

“We have to stand up for each other especially during these times. I’m confronting my own family members who are getting away from the truth. We have to stand up for what we believe not speak negatively about what the reactions are.” – jenmarasc

Create posters for protests

“Creating posters to take to my local police department this Sunday to protest. Signed petition, called the DA, sent cards to the mayor and DA in support of their efforts and demanding criminalization!!! We need to speak louder. Getting involved in my community to provide breath work and yoga to the black community I live in!!” – mexicanameg