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Baltimore Safe Haven

Marvin Roxas | Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Iya Dammons standing in the middle of the die-in protest during the 2020 Black Trans Lives Matter Protest March. (2020)

Baltimore Safe Haven is a yearly photography project documenting the annual Baltimore Black Trans Lives Matter march led by Iya Dammons, the Executive Director of Baltimore Safe Haven. The organization provides Baltimore City transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (TLGBQ) people with resources such as a drop-in center, advocacy assistance, and linkage to housing services.

In 2020, the Coronavirus Pandemic shut down communities around the world and impacted cities such as Baltimore. On May 25th Minneapolis police officers murdered George Floyd. Two days later on May 27th, Tallahassee police officers murdered Tony McDade, a transgender man. Across the nation, communities held vigils, rallies, and marches in solidarity and protest. On June 5th, 2020 Baltimore Safe Haven held a Black Trans Lives Matter protest march in Baltimore. A year later on July 24th, 2021 another march was held with a similar message and followed a similar route. Once again on June 4th, 2022 a Grand March wound its way down the heart of Baltimore, and in its wake channeled the vision of a world in which all TLGBQ people enjoyed self-determined lives liberated from the stigma, violence, and oppression.

Marvin Roxas is a Baltimore-based street photographer who works in arts non-profit and disaster management. In 2013, he began taking photos to document stories during his time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Central Uganda. Over the next few years, he delved into the overlapping Baltimore arts and activism communities where he worked with homegrown social justice organizations. His time spent with community activists, artists, and storytellers has inspired him to continue to amplify the stories, visions, and voyages of those striving to support and uplift their neighborhoods. His work has appeared in Baltimore Magazine, Humans of Baltimore, and Born in Baltimore Film & Photography Festival.

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