Asa, a musician who performed their own music from an upcoming mixtape, The Violent Femme, said that they hope people show solidarity.
“It’s time that we start doing more for trans folks,” said Asa.
The event also had tables set up by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, letter writing and tweet-the-governor stations, the work of local artists for sale and free emergency contraception from the Carolina Abortion Fund.
The ACLU of North Carolina represents Kanautica Zayre-Brown and her case, said Molly Rivera, communications associate for the ACLU of North Carolina.
The group wants Zayre-Brown to be transferred immediately because of the way she has been treated in the men’s facilities, Williams said, and because they believe she should be in a women’s facility.
Zayre-Brown is still being given male undergarments, Brown said.
“We know that for trans folks inside cages, one of the ways that they harm them or hurt them is through dress codes,” said Williams. “She experiences having to wear really baggy clothes that don’t really fit her because of what they think her body should look like.”
DPS Communications Officer John Bull said he would not comment on the undergarments worn by individuals in the prison. DPS said it is waiting on transferring Zayre-Brown to prepare for the move.
"An August move will allow DPS to continue researching and implementing best practices from the states that have transferred transgender women to female facilities," DPS General Counsel Jane Ammons Gilchrist said in a letter to Sneha Shah, ACLU of North Carolina staff attorney. "Implementation of best practices will help to ensure the safety and preparedness of correctional officers and offenders."
The letter also said DPS will provide staff training prior to Zayre-Brown's transfer.
Zayre-Brown was moved from the Harnett Correctional Institution to the Warren Correctional Institution in March, both men’s facilities in North Carolina.
The facility to which the organization wants Zayre-Brown to be transferred is the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh, Williams said.
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Brown said that he wants Zayre-Brown transferred before the date set by DPS, and that she claimed to have received information from officials inside the facility saying she will be transferred sooner than that date.
“They insist upon it, but that’s word of mouth right now,” said Brown. “That’s not concrete.”
The organization does fear that Zayre-Brown will face issues once she is transferred to the women’s facility.
“A question for us as organizers is will she be put in segregation?” Williams said. “Will she be in solitary confinement? That is a concern that we have; that is something we don’t want to see.”
Zayre-Brown was previously placed in restrictive housing.
"Please know that Kanautica Zayre-Brown was placed in restrictive housing for administrative purposes (which is not solitary confinement) pending the results of an investigation in March for violating the rules," Bull said.
Another goal of The House of Kaunatica is to get Zayre-Brown’s name changed in the prison system, Williams said.
“Her name is legally changed, and it still says her deadname (the name she was given at birth),” said Williams. “This is just another example of the way the prison is marginalizing her, and a way that prisons marginalize trans folks.”
DPS also said they would provide the ACLU with updates every two weeks until Zayre-Brown is transferred, said Irena Como, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina.
In the meantime, the ACLU of North Carolina plans to watch the case closely and advocate as much as they can to get Zayre-Brown transferred as soon as possible, Rivera said. Rivera also said the ACLU plans to hold the DPS accountable at a minimum to the final transfer deadline.
The ACLU stays in touch with Zayre-Brown, talking with her every couple of days, Rivera said.
Williams also said that they speak to Zayre-Brown often.
“She calls almost every other day,” Williams said. “If you gave her your number she calls you, she’s that kind of person. Talking to her every day keeps us connected to her."
Williams said that they hope this campaign is just the first of many to get transgender women transferred to women’s facilities and help incarcerated transgender people get things they need, and that Kanautica hopes this, as well.
“I think that she wouldn’t want us to stop after she got transferred, and I imagine that her transfer will make a way for other folks,” said Williams.