The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced a partnership between its Transgender Justice Initiative and Lyft to provide free transportation to transgender and non-binary individuals in need. This initiative was launched in an effort to help address the epidemic of violence against the Black and Brown transgender community.
“The goal is simple—provide reliable and immediate access to transportation for transgender people of color, a community that has been disproportionately impacted by discrimination, stigma, and violence,” said Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Over the past year, we have not only experienced nationwide lockdowns, requiring people to stay in potentially dangerous environments, but also an onslaught of brutality that has resulted in the tragic deaths of far too many. At the end of the day, this initiative aims to save lives.”
On a quarterly cycle in 2021, HRC and Lyft will provide $15,000 in ride credits each quarter to to a group of community-based organizations that support transgender and non-binary people, with special consideration given to groups that serve transgender communities of color. Community partners who are selected provide the credits to their nationwide clientele. In the first quarter, four community-based organizations were selected: Black Transgender Advocacy Coalition; Trans [email protected] Coalition; the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (Kansas City, Missouri); and GALAEI (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).
“Lyft is committed to creating a safe and inclusive community in which all riders and drivers are treated with respect and dignity,” said Jennifer Brandenburger, Head of Policy Development at Lyft. “We believe access to transportation is critical, and we’re proud to partner with the Transgender Justice Initiative to address the violence and discrimination faced by transgender and non-binary individuals, particularly those of color.”
In 2020, the Human Rights Campaign tracked at least 44 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people, of which the majority of victims were Black or Brown. HRC recorded more violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people last year than in any year since our tracking began in 2013. Since HRC began tracking this violence, more than 200 deaths have been recorded. Of these victims, 78% have been transgender women of color and 85% have been transgender and gender non-conforming people of color.
Since the start of 2021, HRC has tracked 12 known deaths of transgender or non-binary people—making the start of this year unprecedently violent, and more urgent for Black and Brown transgender individuals to have access to transportation. One of the community organizations, GALAEI, is a queer [email protected] social justice organization with programming specifically focused on transgender and non-binary people in the community and they experienced incredible success issuing ride codes to their clients.
“We thank Lyft and The Human Rights Campaign for aiding and carrying our staff, volunteers and so many other community members to our doors,” said Ashley L. Coleman, Executive Director of GALAEI. “Lyft and The Human Rights Campaign have been an integral part of the rebuilding of our organization and the reopening of our services, so we can make Philadelphia a healthier and safer place for all QTBIPOC.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lyft has partnered with national and local organizations to provide transportation access to other vulnerable populations. Lyft launched a similar initiative with RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, to support survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence by connecting those in urgent need with transportation. The program seeks to provide critical resources that survivors often need to begin their relocation journey.