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A Roadmap for Change: Foreword

CeCe McDonald experienced the oppressive system of America’s harsh prison environment firsthand when she was imprisoned for standing her ground against an attacker. Recently released, CeCe has become a champion for criminal justice reform.

This interview with CeCe McDonald was conducted by Aisha Moodie-Mills for adaptation as the foreword in “A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV.” Listen to the full interview here.

As a black transwoman, I am used to facing discrimination based on gender identity and race.

I have been stopped many times by officers who use inaccurate stereotypes to justify harassing me and my peers. The night of June 5th, 2011 was no different. I went out with friends to a grocery store, and on the way we were stopped by officers who had gotten a “noise complaint” in the area. In a neighborhood full of loud bars closing down, my friends and I knew all too well that these officers were racially profiling a group of black youth who were “up to no good.”

They eventually stopped harassing us and we continued toward the store until we passed a group of white people outside a bar who began spewing racial epithets at us. I know that exchanges such as these never end well, so my first instinct was to get away.

The above excerpt was originally published in Columbia Law School Center for Gender & Sexuality Law. Click here to view the full article.

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Aisha C. Moodie-Mills

Senior Fellow and Director, FIRE Initiative