“I Use My Love to Guide Me”: Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Impossible Situations

A conversation with CeCe McDonald, Reina Gossett, and Dean Spade

In 2011, CeCe McDonald was a fashion design student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College when while walking to a grocery store, she and her friends were attacked by a group of white people shouting racist and transphobic slurs. When CeCe fatally stabbed one of their attackers in self defense, she was arrested and eventually imprisoned for 19 months. As she awaited trial and experienced incarceration, the Transgender Youth Support Network in Minnesota created the Free CeCe campaign, inspiring an international community of activists to support CeCe and rally for her freedom. Throughout, CeCe updated community members with her evocative and thoughtful writing on police brutality, transphobia, homophobia, racism, and the power of love against systems of injustice.

In February 2014, CeCe joined prison abolition activists Reina Gossett and Dean Spade in a conversation about her own experiences surviving trauma and impossible situations, and the importance of collective organizing for people facing systems of violence. Watch videos from this conversation here: http://bcrw.barnard.edu/event/i-use-my-love-to-guide-me-cece-mcdonald-reina-gossett-dean-spade/

On April 21, CeCe, Reina, and Dean shared additional excerpts from their discussion and continued the conversation at a live event at The New School where they responded to questions from the audience and online.

This event was part of the series No One is Disposable, which features conversations on trans activism and prison abolition with BCRW activist fellow Reina Gossett. Co-sponsored by the Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Office of Social Justice Initiatives at The New School, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at NYU, the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School, and the Transgender Youth Support Network.

The Barnard Center for Research on Women engages our communities through programming, projects, and publications that advance intersectional social justice feminist analyses and generate concrete steps toward social transformation.

© 2017 Barnard Center for Research on Women | 101 Barnard Hall | 3009 Broadway | New York, NY 10027