29 April 2012
Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America
Solidarity with CeCe McDonald
The Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America stand in solidarity with Crishaun “CeCe” McDonald, an African-American transgender woman who will soon go on trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the “crime” of defending herself from a group of racist, transphobic, and quite possibly fascist thugs on the night of 5 June 2011.
CeCe, then a student at Minneapolis Community & Technical College, was walking to a store with friends, all of them young, AfricanAmerican, and either queer or allied. As they walked past a bar, a group of older white people lead by Dean Schmitz, a man with a swastika tattooed on his chest, began shouting slurs at them, including “faggots,” “niggers,” and “chicks with dicks.”
When CeCe verbally confronted them, one of them smashed her glass into CeCe’s face, puncturing her cheek deeply and lacerating her salivary gland. CeCe and her friends were forced to act in self-defense, and during the altercation Schmitz was fatally stabbed.
Despite being the victim of a violent attack, CeCe was the only person arrested that night. She has been charged with second degree murder, while the woman who attacked her was never arrested or charged with a crime. CeCe’s trial is set to begin April 30th.
A report published by the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that “the combination of anti-transgender bias and persistent structural and individual racism was especially devastating for Black transgender people and other people of color.”
We believe that the decision to charge CeCe, while the white, non-transgender woman who stabbed her in the face was neither arrested nor charged, is evidence of racial and anti-transgender bias. After CeCe’s arrest, she was placed in solitary confinement and denied adequate medical care, being further victimized by the legal system.
We believe CeCe’s attackers may have fascist sympathies, as evidenced by Schmitz’s swastika tattoo. At the very least, they were racists and transphobes. We find it astounding that not a single member of the group that created the conflict and initiated the violence was arrested or charged with a crime.
The message sent is that transpeople, particularly transpeople of color, can be verbally abused and physically assaulted without
penalty, and should they defend themselves, they will be the ones charged with a crime.
We demand that Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman drop all charges against CeCe McDonald and release her immediately, so that she can resume her life and education instead of facing a long prison sentence of up to 40 years for defending herself from the violence of her attackers.
Further, we demand that Freeman charge CeCe’s attackers with the appropriate crimes and bring them to trial.
We also renew our demand for an end to all violence and intimidation against LGBT people, including mistreatment by police and other authorities.
To learn more about CeCe and her case, please visit: