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Unit Three, Week Nineteen. Diving the Sunken Place: We Convene in Honor of Fifty Bandz

Teach Out Gathering Time: Sunday, April 12 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Meeting ID: 984 4028 7294

diving the sunken place: intersectional histories, black aesthetics, and violence in american cinema

week nineteen

Fifty Bandz, a 21-year-old Black transgender woman was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 28, 2021. Her death is at least the fifth violent death of a transgender person so far this year. We say “at least” because too often deaths of transgender individuals go unreported — or, misreported. So far this year, four of these five known deaths have been Black transgender women.

Friends and advocates spoke Fifty Bandz’s name and released balloons in downtown Baton Rouge to remember her life on February 1. Many in Bandz' Facebook community shared the sentiment “rest in peace,” with others proclaiming “long live Fifty Bandz.” One friend of Bandz shared, “When are we as a community going to do something?!"

Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for the HRC Transgender Justice Initiative noted: "In just one month, multiple transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed, four of whom were Black trans women...This is an epidemic of violence that must be stopped. We will continue to affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter and say the names of those we have lost, including Fifty Bandz, but we must do more. Fifty was killed by someone she knew -- if we can’t trust the people we know, who can we trust? We need everyone to take action to bring this horrific violence to an end.

According to local media reports, Bandz was killed by a man with whom she had been in a relationship for more than a year. Interpersonal violence accounts for a significant number of fatalities against transgender and gender non-conforming people. In 2020, approximately seven in ten transgender and gender non-conforming people killed as a result of fatal violence were killed by an acquaintance, friend, family member or intimate partner.

Additionally, according to an HRC report from 2018, 54% of transgender and non-binary people have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their life. Last year a report titled “LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence and COVID-19” details the increased risk of interpersonal violence faced by LGBTQ people, exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fifty Bands was 21 years old, loved coffee and dancing, high fashion, and getting her hair done with her favorite stylist in Baton Rouge, who she routinely would lift up on social media sites during their time together.

We dedicate this week's study and gathering of The Teach Out to Bandz, and so many other transgender and gender non-conforming people of color, many whose names we do not know. May they rest in power.

*Parts of Fifty Bandz biography here are taken from the HRC site entry about her memorial.


our week nineteen viewing

a teach out double feature!!

one night in miami (2021)


ReMastered: the two killings of sam cooke (2019)

One Night in Miami is available exclusively on Amazon. The Two Killings of Sam Cooke is available exclusively on Netflix.


our weekly provocations

1. Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 2021, "The True Story Behind One Night in Miami"

The History Behind Amazon's 'One Night i
Download • 1.74MB

3. NPR Interview with Cooke biographer Peter Guralnick, 2006, "Tracing the Highs and Tragic End of Sam Cooke"

'One Night in Miami'_ Why violence of Ji
Download • 757KB


outro, our weekly intention

It's been a long time coming.

But I know a change gonna come.

--Sam Cooke



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