Monica James -TWOC has dedicated her life to the fight for trans equality and has been recognized as a national and international activist. Just 10 years ago Monica was viciously attacked by an off-duty police officer in Boys town and arrested and charged with attempted murder for defending herself. Recognizing her need for competent legal counsel and support, she began writing to LGBTQ organizations locally and abroad telling her story and stumbled upon the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois. An organization that had just recently established themselves as a legal resource for TWOC, that have been criminalized marginalized and overrepresented in the legal system. TJLP sprang into action and started mobilizing the community to write to her and show up to her court hearings and trial, while coordinating with her public defender to educate them about the struggles of TWOC in hopes of strengthen their strategy of defense. Ultimately, she was found guilty of a lesser charge but is credited for the changes within CCDOC’s handling and practices of LGBTQ detainees.
Since then, Ms. James has defied stereo types of ex-felons and TWOC through her ongoing advocacy work for trans equality and justice. That lead her to become a 2014 delegate to testify before the Committee Against Torture (CAT) at Geneva Switzerland. She has presented for many panels and universities nationwide and has been recognized as a voice and spirit of truth. Ms. James hopes to complete her paralegal degree and begin working firsthand on policy reform for the advancement of trans women of color. Her prayer is that lawmakers will see through her story that if given the opportunity and resources they too, are valuable to society.