Trans women of color are amongst the most vulnerable minorities in the country fighting against sexism, transphobia, racism and discrimination leading to poverty. Since we started NEOCOCO in fall of 2017 we wanted it to be a space for women to come together and focus on rebuilding their lives through art and story telling. Today 3 of 8 women working in our team are transgender.
Born and raised in Mexico Sandra says it was never easy for her growing up as transgender. After moving to the United States she lived on the streets of LA for 2 years before being an active participant at the Downtown Women’s Center.
She is appreciative of the help through the center and the housing that they provide her. She wants to be financially independent and working with us allows her to take care of herself.
As a transgender woman growing up Ines suffered much abuse at the hands of authorities. Believe it or not people have run her over with a car in an attempt to kill her. Here in the US, having received asylum, she is able to live her life as the person she truly is, but even here, she says, when you apply for work, if they see you are different, you don’t get the job. Without work and without money, Ines grew deeply depressed. Working for Neococo, she is accepted. She says, “I make my best effort to be productive. In the group, I chat and unburden myself.” The first time she received pay, Ines told us she’d never held a check in her hands. She said, “I feel happy.”
Miranda, is a Transgender immigrant from Honduras. Her past like most transgender women growing up in a small town has been challenging. She faced discrimination and execution so she had to seek asylum and moved to the United States. After moving here she worked as a seamstress with American Apparel and since they filed for bankruptcy she lost her job and since been hopping from one low paying job to another to make ends meet.
These are only 3 stories of women who are paving the path for a better and safer future. Like them there are thousands of other women who need their voice to be heard. Days like today are a reminder of human duty to treat other humans equally, fairly and with dignity no matter their race, gender or religious background. Also a reminder for companies to take their jobs seriously and hire employees for their potential and not take advantage of their vulnerability and exploit them.