Dear Banko Brown,
I just met you through your death and that is no way to get to know somebody for the first time. I attended a memorial and rally in your honor on Monday and listened to family and comrades spill out their love for you on Market and Fourth Streets in front of the Walgreens / corporation* that shot you dead.
As stated so passionately and eloquently by others, you should be here! You should not be an ancestor at 24. Your death should not be the reason people gather.
San Francisco / Yelamu, land of your birth, should have been your shelter from the cruelty of this world that seeks to exterminate Black trans people, Black people, and trans people. But San Francisco, whose leaders since I moved here in 1997 have been proudly calling San Francisco SANCTUARY and moralizing on queer and trans liberation have not improved the material conditions for Black trans San Franciscans.
It does not matter who has been in charge or what race, gender, class, or immigration background from which they come. Every Mayor has violently assaulted unhoused San Franciscans (aka our neighbors,) which means–and always means in this system of capitalist, White Supremacist cisheteropatriarchy–violent attacks against Black trans folx, Black folx, and trans folx. ALWAYS.
Dear Banko Brown,
As I sit here this morning in remembrance of your life as told by others I wonder what more I could do to help change the conditions that led to your state-sanctioned** death. Where else can I stretch my politics to advance the material reality of Black trans and queer people? How can I help contribute even more to the transformation of San Francisco into a place where its governance is as passionate about sustaining a place where ALL Black trans people thrive as the people gathered in rage, grief, love, and power for you?
San Francisco, a land colonized and then colonized again and then developed and then redeveloped and then gentrified and now in the process of being redeveloped and gentrified yet again, has the money and resources NOW to:
There are also the demands put forward by the Young Women’s Freedom Center, which was a home for you dear Banko, that must also be met. (Please sign up for their newsletter, donate, and follow this organization demanding radical change throughout California.)
Dear Banko Brown,
I met you through death, and I commit to continue pushing my self, my family, and my community of communities to make this world a world where you live, now and forever.
In camaraderie & solidarity & rage & grief & love & power,
* Time and again corporations are enshrined in US law as individuals with rights. In fact, individual rights are at the heart of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. If corporations are individuals, then Walgreens is the individual (through the body of its security guard) that pulled the trigger that shot Banko Brown dead. How do we create a community accountability process for Walgreens? How do we put Walgreens on trial in the court of public opinion?
** San Francisco’s District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ justification for not pressing charges agains the security guard (aka the security guard “feared for his life”) along with Article 25 of San Francisco’s Charter, which allows for security guards to be armed in San Francisco, mean that the state quite literally has sanctioned the actions of the security guard, which resulted in the killing of Banko Brown.