Cece McDonald sat down with Melissa Harris-Perry to share her story for the first time since being released from prison. McDonald made national headlines after she was charged in the death of her attacker in 2011. She and her friends were walking passed a local bar when they were accosted with racial and transphobic slurs by a group of white patrons. One of the attackers hit CeCe with a glass leaving her with 11 stitches. A fight ensured and one of the attackers was fatally stabbed.
CeCe was the only one arrested and she was quickly charged with first degree murder, even though she was defending herself against a racist and transphobic attack. Support for her quickly grew as the Transgender Youth Support Network in Minnesota created the Free CeCe campaign bringing national attention to her case. After serving 19 months of a 40 months sentence CeCe was released from the St. Cloud correctional facility on Monday greeted by her Laverne Cox and her friends and family. Cox is co-producing a documentary called Free CeCe which documents her case, incarcerations, and her return to the community.
CeCe appeared on Melissa Harris-Perry in her first television interview since her release to talk about her experience while incarcerated and her plans for the future. She was supported by actress Laverne Cox, Executive Director of the Trans Youth Support Network Katie Burgess, and Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Rea Carey. They discussed systemic racism and transphobia in the criminal justice system that disproportionately affects transgender women of color. Watch the video:
According to the National Anti-Violence Project's report on hate violence, transgender women of color are almost three times as likely to experience police violence and discrimination then non-transgender people. CeCe McDonald has been a shining example of courage and leadership throughout this ordeal. She reflects the resiliency and strength of a marginalized and often ignored community.