Who was Marsha P. Johnson?

Marsha P. Johnson was a transgender woman popular in the LGBT + community and in the New York art scene from the 1960s to 1990s, an activist in the LGBT Liberation Movement. Marsha P. Johnson has been considered one of the most prominent activists in clashes with the police during the Stonewall riots. In the early 1970s, Johnson and her friend Sylvia Rivera co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR); Together they participated in gay liberation marches and radical political actions. In the 1980s, Johnson continued her street activism as a respected organizer and marshall for ACT UP. Along with Rivera, Johnson was the “mother” of the STAR House, handing out clothes and food to help drag queens, trans women and young people who lived on the docks of Christopher Street or in her house on the Lower East Side of New York. Her distinctive in front of the community was what a middle name must look like, every time she was asked what her P meant in her name, she answered “Pay it no mind”.

In the previous article you can find a bit of what happened in the Stonewall rebellion, in which Marsha participated and was one of the most recognized people in the riots, as well as part of ACT UP, ACT UP is the acronym for the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, a direct action group founded in 1987 to draw attention to the AIDS pandemic and the people living with it, in order to secure favorable legislation, promote scientific research and assistance to the sick, until all the necessary policies are achieved to achieve the end of the disease. ACT UP was founded in March 1987 at the New York Center for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community. A conference was organized in which several speakers participated. These are some of the few movements in which Marsha participated using her voice to help her community and everyone who is part of it.

In July 1992, Johnson’s body was found floating in the Hudson River, not far from the West Village Pier, shortly after the Pride March. The police considered the death a suicide. Johnson’s friends and supporters said she was not suicidal and a poster campaign later claimed that Johnson had been harassed on the day of her death near where her body was found. Lawsuits to get the police to investigate the cause of death were unsuccessful. After a strong campaign led by activist Mariah López, the New York Police Department reopened the case in November 2012 as a possible homicide. In 2016, Victoria Cruz of the New York Anti-Violence Project , also tried to reopen Johnson’s case and managed to gain access to unpublished witness statements and documents. She sought further interviews with witnesses, friends, other activists and officers who had worked on the case or had been with the police at the time of Johnson’s likely murder. Her death awakened in many people the desire to fight, to get ahead and not to allow her community to be oppressed in that way.

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

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