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november, 2017

13nov6:30 pm9:00 pmFree CeCe: Documentary Film Screening and Panel Discussion


Event Details

The Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, the Institute for Research in African American Studies, the Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality, the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and Columbia Law School’s QTPOC are pleased to present a film screening and discussion of the documentary flim, Free CeCe, with activist CeCe McDonald and Filmmaker Jac Gares.

As we honor Transgender Awareness month, we seek to discuss and open discourse around the institutional, social, and cultural violence that Transgender persons, and particularly transgender women of color face. We seek to discuss the ways in which we as advocates, activists, and members of a human community must come together to support those persons who are most marginalized in our communities.

This program is free and open to the public. If you require any disability accommodations to attend this program, please contact Liz Boylan, Associate Director for the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at or 212.854.0167.


On her way to the store with a group of friends, Chrishaun Reed “CeCe” McDonald was brutally attacked. While defending her life, a man was killed. After a coercive interrogation, CeCe was incarcerated in a men’s prison in Minnesota. An international campaign to free CeCe garnered significant support from media and activists, including actress Laverne Cox. Cox signed on as executive producer of FREE CECE!, committed to exploring the role race, class, and gender played in CeCe’s case. In the end, CeCe emerged not only as a survivor, but also as a leader.

Documentarian Jac Gares pushed past the everyday narratives of victimhood surrounding the lives of transgender people, to spotlight the way CeCe and other trans people are leading a growing movement fighting for the rights of transgender people everywhere. CeCe’s powerful story highlights the groundswell of voices questioning the prison industrial complex and calling for its disassembly.

FREE CECE! is directed and produced by Jac Gares and executive produced by Laverne Cox. Slobodan Randjelovic also served as producer. Original music is by Jordana LeSesne with editing by Erik Satre.

From Persephone Magazine, Laverne Cox:

CeCe’s story is one that should have been covered more in the press. Trans women, particularly trans women of color, experience disproportionate amounts of violence and not enough is being done to eradicate that violence. CeCe’s story in so many ways encapsulates the intersectional issues that lead to far too many of us experiencing violence. I wanted to do a piece that explores the nature of how race, class and gender affect violence towards trans women and also give CeCe a space to tell her story in her words in the context of a piece that truly values the lives of trans women of color.


(Monday) 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107

Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th Street

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The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality is the locus of interdisciplinary feminist and queer scholarship and teaching at Columbia University.

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