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This Black trans activist is fighting to shield her community from an epidemic of violence

(CNN) As a teenage runaway in the foster care system and forced into homelessness, Vanessa Warri’s childhood was marked by trauma — but she’s overcoming her early circumstances despite the odds.

“Black transgender women rarely make it past 35,” she said. “Elders in my community fought and marched and sacrificed and advocated in the hopes that one day, a young trans person could be able to walk in spaces they couldn’t.”
The 30-year-old is now a social welfare MSW/PhD candidate at UCLA. In many ways, Warri knows she’s an exception to an often cruel reality for many Black transgender youth and women.
Transgender and gender-nonconforming people face risks that make them particularly vulnerable to homicide. Some experience bias explicitly because of their gender identity. For others, their identity makes them more likely to experience other risk factors, such as unemployment or homelessness, experts say. The risks are compounded for trans women of color, especially Black women, who face the additional burden of racism.
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