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PHOTOS: Charlottesville community gathers in support of Black transgender and queer lives

Organizers remembered Sage Smith, a local Black transgender woman, whose 2012 disappearance remains unsolved

<p>The community gathered Wednesday evening to show solidarity with Black queer and transgender lives, as current protests for racial justice and the LGBTQ+ community's recognition of Pride month recognize intersecting causes.</p>

The community gathered Wednesday evening to show solidarity with Black queer and transgender lives, as current protests for racial justice and the LGBTQ+ community's recognition of Pride month recognize intersecting causes.

On Wednesday evening, community members gathered near the Charlottesville Amtrak station to honor Black Transgender and Queer lives as part of the Charlottesville Black Lives Matter movement. The demonstration was located at the intersection of Seventh and West Main Street in remembrance of Sage Smith, a transgender woman who went missing in November 2012 and was last seen in the area.

During the event, community members spoke about their experiences and shared stories. The atmosphere was energetic, as the organizers played music and encouraged all to join and dance. Many attending enjoyed dancing to hits such as the “Cha-Cha Slide” by DJ Casper, Beyonce’s “Formation,” and Donald Glover’s “This Is America.”

The gathering took place in the street in front of Mel’s Café, so organizers asked for donations to offset the lost profits due to the street closure. Attendees quickly raised a little over $600 for the Black-owned restaurant.


On Wednesday evening, community members gathered near the Charlottesville Amtrak station to honor Black Transgender and Queer lives.


People brought Pride flags and homemade signs to demonstrate their support.


The gathering follows a series of local protests promoting the Black Lives Matter Movement in Charlottesville, which have gained traction along with nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.


Cars blocked the road so that protesters could safely gather in the street. 


The Human Rights Campaign determined anti-transgender violence to be an "epidemic" in November 2019. On May 27 — just two days after the death of George Floyd — Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was killed by Tallahassee Police.


After opening statements, organizers played music and encouraged all to join in a dance party.


The community gathered Wednesday evening to show solidarity with Black queer and transgender lives, as current protests for racial justice and the LGBTQ+ community's recognition of Pride month recognize intersecting causes.

Popular songs drew people to the center of the street to dance together.


Participants gathered in the parking lot next to the Amtrak station, before blocking off West Main Street.


June is officially recognized as Pride Month in remembrance of the Stonewall riots which occurred in June 1969. 


Virginia has an especially complicated history with institutional racism — in 1619, enslaved laborers taken from Africa first reached Point Comfort. Now, Charlottesville and other cities throughout the Commonwealth are reconsidering the legacies that are honored through Confederate war monuments and other insensitive representations.


Participants were proudly waving signs while dancing together in the street.


Sage Smith, a Black transgender woman, was last seen at this location in November 2012. Her disappearance remains unsolved.


The music continued for several hours, while people brought attention to the value of  Black Transgender and Queer lives.


Following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, the Charlottesville community has continued to come out and show solidarity with the Black community through a series of demonstrations. 


Sophie Roehse

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