The Collegian
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Transgender violence memorial tree transplanted to campus

The week before fall break, the commemorative tree for the Transgender Day of Remembrance was transplanted from the Gay Community Center of Richmond, which is located downtown, to the University of Richmond campus.

Before the transplant, the tree had been planted outside of the community center in remembrance of those who had lost their lives to transgender violence, said Erik Lampmann, co-facilitator of the Student Alliance for Sexual Diversity (SASD) and an LGBTQ student coordinator with the office of the Common Ground.

There is also a commemoration every year on Nov. 20 to remember those victims, he said.

The planning began last spring when the new members of the community center staff were thinking of moving its site because of financial reasons, said Jon Henry, co-founder and former president of SASD.

"They were planning to downsize, and they ended up making enough money to stay there, and that was released last week," Henry said. "But we had already moved the tree by then."

The potential relocation of the organization brought about the decision to move the tree to a more stable area, Lampmann said. "We were looking for a space that wouldn't be jeopardized by economics and had staying power in the community and would be safe," Lampmann said.

After being the first university in Virginia to implement a non-discrimination statement that included sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, Richmond had become a logical choice as a home for this project, Lampmann said.

"We're approaching Nov. 20 here, and so we are in the midst of planning a community event to dedicate the tree," Lampmann said. "That will involve a plaque being placed beneath the tree, and that will be funded partially by SASD, our organization here, the GCCR and other organizations."

Contact reporter Amanda Minnitte at amanda.minnitte@richmond.edu

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