Published on May 1st, 2012 | by Wild Gender
In Memory of Brandy Martell, Trans Woman of Color Killed in Oakland
OAKLAND, C.A. — On April 29, 37-year-old Brandy Martell, was shot to death in downtown Oakland at Franklin and 13th Street just a block from city hall. According to reports, Ms. Martell’s friend attempted to keep her alive with training learned from the People’s Community Medics, but the cops walked away and an ambulance called to the scene arrived too late .
“When you don’t provide a space in society for people who you think are the other or different, especially transgender women, especially transgender women of color,” said Tiffany Woods, a friend of Martell’s to ABC7. “When you don’t provide spaces for them to be in a safe environment or a safe space, whether it’s socializing or services, this is what happens.”
According to ABC7, Ms. Martell was sitting behind the wheel of her car around 5:15 a.m. when one or two men walked up and began a conversation. A witness describes the conversation a cordial, but then one of the men became angry and fired into the car where Martell was sitting, at point-blank range. Martell’s friends believe the man shot her because he was angered over her gender identity.
A Daily Kos article published today reprimands major news sources for avoiding coverage of Ms. Martell’s murder. ”Think about what the newscape would look like if a well-heeled, white, Oakland citizen living on “the right side of the tracks” (or, in Oakland parlance, “the hills”) had been the victim,” writes jpmassar in the Daily Kos. ”Or consider that another murder that took place at almost the same location in November of 2011 while Occupy Oakland was camping in the Plaza rated world-wide headlines. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine how many articles there were about broken windows in Oakland on November 2nd, 2011.
Monica Roberts at TransGriot corrects Daily Kos in a post about Martell today, saying “nobody gave a damn except her friends, family and other Black transwomen and our allies around the country who are saying to themselves there but for the grace of God go I.”
“Hell, Paige Clay still hasn’t been buried yet in Chicago,” Roberts continues. “And we’re talking about the murder of yet another one of our African descended transsisters. We now have to add 37 year old Brandy Martell’s name to the depressingly lengthening list of people whose names we’ll be lighting candles for and reading at the 2012 TDOR.”
The Trans Woman Anti-Violence Project held a memorial for Martell yesterday and posted this photo and caption on their website:
“A couple of things that didn’t come out well in the photo was the sheer mass of glitter on the sidewalk, and the pink Highlighters we could use to write a message.”