CeCe McDonald has just been sentenced.

This woman survived a racist, transphobic hate crime, and for that crime she’s being imprisoned.

Pay attention.  Please remember that this is the country you live in, if you live here.  This is what it looks like, this is what it does.  I’m not saying you should cry all the time, or explode, or limit your emotions to anger–I think you’ll find that if you try to live with facts, happiness will become more difficult for a while and then you’ll eventually explode into health, because you can’t be healthy without putting yourself in opposition to a country that imprisons a woman for daring to refuse to die.

CeCe is going to be imprisoned with men. The most chilling thing I have read in a while is the official statement regarding CeCe’s gender: “because he is being housed as a male with Hennepin County.  We will intake him as a male at St. Cloud prison.  We will assess him as any other offender would be assessed”  These people don’t see CeCe as a person, but as an “offender”–another black and gender-variant body that does not fit the white supremacist and transmisogynistic American project.

If you think for one minute, by the way, that this injustice is primarily about CeCe’s transness, think again–this is about race.  Be present in that fact, especially if it hurts.

I’ve been trying to be healthy and okay and resistant, trying to do decent things with decent people and be kind and remember.  Half my head is shaved and half is longer; you might know that.  As a gesture of solidarity and a way for me to remember the world, I’m leaving at least the longest lock of it uncut as long as CeCe remains imprisoned.  I encourage you to do something like this too; my particular praxis works for me, but they might not for you. What I’m doing is inspired by CAConrad’s WAR HAIR. (Read him! Know him!)  Do please try to find a praxis that works for you, that encourages rage, kindness, and health.  I’m leery of posting pictures of this progression because this is not about my body, but about remembering, holding yourself accountable for the violence in which you’re complicit, and trying to find a way of life that is both livable and honest in an unlivable, dishonest country.

This makes me think of Himanshu Suri’s song “Juveniles Detained At Guantanamo Bay,” in which he recites the names of the kids that the US is torturing, then says, “I want my loved ones to all stay right near me.”  We have to confront being alive and loving each other while confronting the horrors we perpetuate.

Comment and share something you plan to do until CeCe is free.  Make sure it is something that you will do every day, that will constantly remind you what is important in the world.  Maybe before you pour your coffee, you say her name, to honor her.  Maybe before you go to bed, you write another sentence in a letter of support you plan to send her.  Maybe instead of buying the sandwich you normally buy at the corner near your job, you bring lunch from home, then sit and meditate on injustice for the duration of the time you’d ordinarily take in walking to the deli.

As CeCe has said in her blog, “We have to be the matriarchs of this society.”  We make the world.

Write CeCe a letter.

Send her a book.

Donate to her support fund, because not only are they imprisoning her for surviving, they are fining her.

Contact Governor Mark Dayton and his Lieutenant Governor, Yvonne Solon, and demand that they pardon CeCe.

Read what she has to say about herself.  It’s beautiful.


ETA: In a cleansing gesture, I shaved most of my head yesterday, instead of proceeding with what I had before.  Forward!


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