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Thousands participate in Brooklyn Liberation rally and march for black trans lives

Thousands participated in a rally and silent march for black trans lives in Brooklyn Sunday. Organizers of the Brooklyn Liberation event say they believe police scanners estimated that 15,000 people dressed in white and demonstrated.

The event was organized by groups including The Okra Project, which provides meals to black trans people, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, named for the black trans activist who was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

The rally began in front of the Brooklyn Museum and included speeches from writer and activist Raquel Willis as well as the family of Layleen Polanco.

Protesters Gather In Brooklyn For Black Trans Lives Matter Rally
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 14: Protestors march with chants, flags, sign and white clothing in support of Black Trans Lives Matter on June 14, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Protests continue all around the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Michael Noble Jr. / Getty Images

The 27-year-old trans woman was found unresponsive in a Riker's Island jail cell earlier this month while in solitary confinement.

Her family's attorney noted that Polanco had a seizure disorder and other health problems and had been hospitalized weeks before, according to The Associated Press. "Layleen never should have been left alone in a cell to die," the attorney said.

Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann promised a full investigation into Polanco's death.

Following the speeches, rally-goers began marching with black trans women at the front of the demonstration.

The event was held days after the Trump administration announced that it is rolling back Obama-era health care protections for transgender people. The rule, announced Friday, will impact transgender patients' ability to fight against discrimination by doctors, medical facilities and health insurance providers. 

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