Every day during the month of June, we will be spotlighting our 2021 Logo30. This powerful series profiles ordinary and extraordinary people who show pride in unique and provocative ways. Visit the Logo30 homepage to view current and past honorees.
We throw the word "legend" around pretty freely these days, but the Brooklyn Liberation organizers behind last June's action for Black trans lives truly embody it.
Working as a collective, LGBTQ+ activists Eliel Cruz, Fran Tirado, Ianne Fields Stewart, Kalaya’an Mendoza, Mohammed Fayaz, Peyton Dix, Raquel Willis, Robyn Ayers, and West Dakota pulled off the impossible: a hugely impactful rally and march centering Black transgender people in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic. That's why Logo is proud to honor these nine organizers from Brooklyn Liberation as the recipients of our inaugural Logo Legend Award. This award celebrates a moment from the past year that had an outsized impact on LGBTQ+ equality and visibility by honoring the person or people who made it happen.
Brooklyn Liberation's action, which took place on June 14, 2020, was unpermitted and free of any corporations. More than 15,000 New Yorkers showed up to the kick-off rally at the Brooklyn Museum, marching in a solemn sea of white toward Fort Greene Park. Organizers made a point to put Black queer and trans folks at the head at the march. "Something that felt really important to us was to make sure we were specifically talking to and centering the most marginalized among us," explains Dix, one of our honorees.
The staggering turnout made headlines around the country and had a material impact on some of its attendees — including GLITS Inc. founder Ceyenne Doroshow, who fundraised more than $1 million to fulfill her lifelong goal of opening an LGBTQ+ housing complex after speaking at the rally. It also kept the conversations going surrounding the untimely deaths of Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old transgender woman of color who died under suspicious circumstances at Rikers Island, and Tony McDade, a 38-year-old Black trans man who was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida, just days after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"It feels beautiful to be an inaugural Logo Legend," says Willis. "So much of the march was about lives cut short, so it’s never lost on me, the importance of honoring people today while we can."
Brooklyn Liberation is continuing the fight this coming Sunday, June 13, with a second action, also beginning at 12pm outside the Brooklyn Museum. The theme is "Protect Trans Youth," and attendees are asked to wear masks and white clothing.
"Organizing needs to be demystified," says Cruz. "You don't need to build something this large to make change; you start small."
Learn more about the recipients of this year's Logo Legend Award in the video below, and click here to read more coverage of our inspiring 2021 Logo30 honorees.