CeCe McDonalds at CSUSB

CeceBy Vivian Gurrola-Amissah |Staff Writer|

An African American transgender women and LGBTQ activist, CeCe McDonald, visited CSUSB on Thursday, Nov. 19, at the San Manuel Student Union auditorium to speak about her journey being victimized by law enforcement.

Since her 2014 release, McDonald travels around the country, sharing her experiences to other transgender women victimized by the criminal justice system.

Many students waited patiently as seats began to fill up our auditorium room Thursday morning.

As the audience focused their attention to the stage, McDonald entered the room with a warm welcome from the crowd.

To begin sharing her story, a short clip of the activist’s upcoming documentary “Free Cece” was revealed, which centers her tragic experience of imprisonment, violence, along with interviews with Laverne Cox from “Orange is the New Black,” who plays Sofia Burset, a character inspired from McDonald’s story.

The documentary has been in production since December 2013, and is set to release in 2016.

Everyday, victims of trans-phobic violence are unfairly targeted by police, leaving transgender women of color victims of the scene.

While walking one night in the streets of Minneapolis, McDonald and four friends were assaulted by men outside a bar. Things turned deadly, causing her to stab the man after being chased trying to escape the scene.

Not allowed a defendant claim, McDonald accepted a plea bargain of 41 months in prison for second-degree manslaughter after acting on self-defense from someone who was verbally and physically assaulting her.

After growing up in a heavily Christian household, McDonald left home at the age of 18, where she finally did not have to hide.

During her discussion about religion, many exited the building as McDonald made critical remarks about the Bible and Christianity.

Not afraid to speak her mind, McDonald’s unfiltered words kept her story genuine for individuals that stayed until the end.

“After realizing what CeCe McDonald went through, Her words inspire many victims to never lose hope and fight for what they know is right,” said student Clarissa Williams.

“The suicide-attempt rate in the general population is estimated to be 4.6 percent, the national transgender discrimination survey found that an extraordinary 41 percent of trans respondents had attempted suicide,” according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

Assaulted for who she was, McDonald gained plenty of attention after her story became internationally known with people relating to her experience.

On January 2014, after serving 19 months in prison, she was finally released out of jail.

After being the target of hate and violence that night, McDonald is now part of the “BlackTransLivesMatter” movement and continues to support the awareness of transgender women and the encounters they must endure.

CeCe shares her story and her experiences as a way to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community.


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