Bringing Trans Awareness Week Home: Finding Sage Smith in Virginia

Photo Courtesy Lavender Sink Collective

Photo Courtesy Lavender Sink Collective

So far this year, we’ve lost at least 16 people to transphobic murder and those are just the ones that we know about. Statistics like these can be daunting, can haunt us, and can be perplexing in a moment when transgender people are more visible than ever in the national pop culture spotlight. As television shows like Orange Is the New Black and TransParent make it normal to discuss gender identity on the stage of Katie Couric or the pages of Time magazine, we’re left wondering, questioning, if all this visibility will ever begin to chip away at the violence targeted towards trans people everyday.

In our own state we’re reminded of that violence this week, which marks November 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) and the two-year anniversary of Sage Smith’s disappearance. Sage is a young black trans girl from Charlottesville. She went missing two years ago and despite the pleas of her family and community organizers, the City of Charlottesville, both the public and the institutions that their taxes fund, have largely ignored her disappearance becoming agents and perpetuators of the narrative of black-girl disposability.

Those who are fighting for Sage’s name to be remembered, and have been for the past 730 days, are demanding more than disposability; they are demanding dignity and they are renewing the call to find Sage. As an LGBTQ organization committed to our collective liberation we are asking SONG membership and allies, other LGBTQ organizations, groups, and leaders, and the LGBTQ community at large across Virginia to support this call. We are asking you to commit to making sure that Sage Smith, her family, and her friends are not forgotten. What can you do?

  1. Learn more about Sage’s case at Lavender Kitchen Sink Collective and watch the video for Trans Visibility, Trans Justice, an event hosted at the beginning of November with activist Cece McDonald to support Sage’s cause.
  2. Organizers and family members are working to hold the Charlottesville Police Department accountable as they launch a fundraising campaign to help fund a private investigation to find Sage. You can donate here http://www.youcaring.com/other/find-sage-smith/256254
  3. Help SONG with our Love Letter Campaign to Sage’s Grandmother Lolita Smith. Sage’s family could use some love and support from our community to tell them that the work that they are doing matters and that Sage’s life matters. Please send mail to

Lolita Smith
731 Orangedale Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903

We hope you will join us in this effort to support Sage’s family towards trans justice and liberation.

Hermelinda and Salem

Upcoming Events

Charlottesville
A Vigil For Sage Smith
November 20
https://www.facebook.com/events/1410982992525234/

Harrisonburg
Film Screening:  Pay It No Mind The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson
November 21
https://www.facebook.com/events/1516336818616234

Richmond
TDOR
November 20
https://www.facebook.com/events/383288121825223/

Trans Day of Celebration
December 14
https://www.facebook.com/events/771412109562208/