I’m Marlize, a black transgender refugee woman. I live in Bad Saarow which is a lager that is isolated between a forest, a lake, and some Nazis which is halfway to Poland from Berlin. It takes me two hours and four trains to just come here to make this speech. I am not even sure how I will get back to Bad Saarow.

Why am I here today?

Racism, mass migration, civil wars, lack of proper leadership, and stability can all be traced back to slavery, colonialism, and the scramble for and partition of Africa. In this city of Berlin 137 years ago 7 European powers divided the continent Africa like it was cake. Our history and cultures were erased. Our grandparents suffered heavily, they were tortured and families have broken apart. The land was forcefully taken and they were put in concentration camps where they were detained without trial. Artifacts, religious items, and many other prized things were collected from our lands in the name of the Queen, they now sit in museums making European countries money.

And to this day the dialogue in and around reparations is non-existent. After independence, these European countries never formally acknowledged their horrific actions. They installed their cronies as leaders who mismanaged the countries ensuring no proper accountability so they could get our precious minerals where the common citizen never gets to see a penny from exports. Wealth is in the hands of a select few. Countries fall into chaos. As western countries collude with African governments then later in their statements say they are corrupt. Women and children suffer indiscriminately. Young kids work in the mines of the DRC and Germany continues to do trade with the corrupt governments. This is Neocolonialism. As western governments continue to work with these thugs and crooks who are the governments of these countries they are legitimizing them. Then there is the war profiteering business which makes a lot and I mean a lot of money. Germany makes 1.6 Billion (with a  B) euros from selling arms to Israel. They also make a lot of money from selling Medicines and medical equipment to Palestine. Intentionally turning a blind eye to the ongoing occupation, massacre and apartheid rule on Palestine by Israel.  How crazy is this? To add to that, 40% of all total sales of arms done by Germany  is to North Africa and the Middle East where the majority of refugees are from. I leave you to make the correlation

So then refugees from these war-torn countries flee to the perceived ‘safe’ countries… that is western countries and come here, we are treated like we do not belong. Being put in lagers that are in ghost towns. This is real-life psychological torture Germany. Families are being shoved into tiny rooms. These asylum cases are dragging on for years; others have spent over 10 years and are still waiting with no right to work or any sort of schooling or any avenue to get any legal recognition. This is a shame Germany.

All refugees are denied the right to choose where they want to stay but it even gets worse with LGBTQI+ refugees who face danger and discrimination in everyday life. As a Black transgender woman, I, like many others, experience intersectional discrimination, far often than not these actions go unchecked and we suffer in silence!

Navigating the system as a Black Trans refugee is shockingly hard, you have social workers who are not well versed in dealing with the specific issues faced. Access to hormones is limited and almost impossible. The Government should take action to ensure more protection and ease of access for medical needs for trans refugees.  

We demand the right to safe housing, not isolated from LGBTQI+ communities and wider society!  We demand the right to choose where we live! Trans rights are human rights. Refugee rights are human rights. 

We demand Germany to take charge as it did in 1884 while partitioning my continent to do the same now and serve a formal apology to countries affected by colonialism. That should be followed by the return of antiques and artifacts back to where they belong, In the motherland. Reparations are not up for discussion; they are way overdue. And we should dictate the terms.

We demand for german corporations to take a stance against doing business in war torn countries or with dictatorial regimes.

We demand an expanded curriculum in schools talking and teaching extensively about Germany’s colonial past, racism, and a more diversified education covering gender and sexuality. 

If you want to be allies, work with refugee-led, grassroots organizations. Donate your money, your time, and use your voice and your votes.

You have a civic duty to dismantle all the systems that continue to oppress me. Make a fair, equal and just system a reality for all.