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The 519 was present today as the jury returned their verdict of guilty for second degree murder in the trial of the murder of Julie Berman. Julie, beloved community member, trans-activist and former The 519 staff member, was tragically killed on December 22, 2019. We attended the trial this month to honour Julie, bear witness with our communities, and to monitor for transphobia and gender stereotyping in the court proceedings.
During the trial, we successfully advocated for the utilization of gender-neutral language in the presentation of DNA evidence and came to better understand the systems-failures evident in the circumstances leading to Julie’s death. The jury’s verdict confirms the sad facts that Julie’s life ended as a victim of a tragic murder. Our hearts are saddened by Julie’s death as we continue to mourn her loss, seek justice for Julie, as well as comfort for her family and loved ones.
The 519 will continue to monitor this case through the sentencing process. We are committed to advocating for affirming and respectful language within court proceedings and documentation, providing supports to those impacted by violence, and working with community on transforming systems that are inherently violent towards, 2 spirit, queer, and trans communities.
For those affected by Julie’s death and the trial outcome, The 519 will be offering counselling starting January 2023. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to be placed on our waitlist or for information on Drop-in Counselling supports.
For immediate support, please contact:
• Gerstein Centre (24/7): (416) 929-5200, http://gersteincentre.org ;
• Toronto Distress Centre (24/7): 416-408-4357 or text 741741 (2am-2pm daily for text) https://dcogt.com/ ; or
• Trans Lifeline (10am – 5am EST): (877) 330-6366, https://translifeline.org/hotline/. Call us if you need someone trans to talk to, even if you’re not in crisis or if you’re not sure you’re trans.