We asked LL, our fabulous resident social work intern, to tell us about a woman he admired for Women’s History Month and he chose Sylvia Rivera! Why is Sylvia important to LL?:
sylvia rivera inspires me because she didn’t take no mess from anyone. she believed in her right to take up space and that taking up space as a trans puerto rican woman meant fighting for all of her people. she reminds me that we can’t leave people behind because it’s strategic or faster. she reminds me that the queer and trans space that I take up is because of the fight and love that she gave to make a way for us brown folks to be seen and heard. it never benefits us to play nice and just be silent. we should always be rowdy and honor who we are and where we come from. her mind was always on justice and being absolutely fabulous.
Want to learn more about Sylvia Rivera? Here’s a short bio from The Day of Silence Blog about her life in honor of Women’s History Month last year:
Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) was a Puerto Rican American transgender activist. Most commonly known as one of the inciters of the monumental Stonewall Riots in New York City, she was also a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and later the Gay Activists Alliance also in New York City. Along with her friend, Marsha Johnson, an African American trans woman activist, she also helped found STAR, a group dedicated to helping homeless trans youth. In addition to being one of the first trans youth shelters STAR was also one of the first political organizations for transgender rights in the world. Today the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) is named in her honor. SRLP is a non-profit organization that engages in policy work and provides trainings and free legal services for transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming low-income people of color.
Thank you, Sylvia Rivera, for the work of your life that is still benefiting and inspiring us today!
Want to hear more from Sylvia, in her own words? Check out this interview: