In July of 2019, I received a phone call from a Major Waddy with Prince George’s County Police 3rd District. She called me due to a second murder of a transwomen in her district. I was asked if I wanted to help in some way to get the Trans Sex workers off the street because she didn’t want to see anymore ladies murdered in Fairmont Heights, MD. This part of Eastern Ave is the border line between Fairmont Heights, MD and Washington DC NE. The Major told me that she was tired of playing ping pong with the ladies with DC Police. She told me she didn’t really want to arrest them, because they would just end up back on the street. I told the Major I would love to help in any way I could to help solve the problem. The Major and I met on June 24, 2019 for a good hour and a half on what I could do. A plan was set that I would do Ride-A-Longs with her special unit that just patrols up and down Eastern Ave. from midnight until 5:30 am. Once I saw any of the ladies out there, the officer would stop for me and I would get out of the police car to talk with them. On July 12, 2019 I met Chief Hawk Stawinski with Prince George’s County Police whom Major Waddy introduce me too. She explained to the Chief our plan on me working with the police doing the ride-a-longs. The Chief advised me that he would be grateful and anything he could do to help, to let him know.
On July 18, 2019, I took my first ride-a-long with the special unit of Prince George’s County Police. On this night I was able to stop and talk with three Transwomen. I wasn’t sure of how they would respond to me getting out of a marked police car. When I approached them, I would say, “Hi my name is Karen, can I talk with you”? I did advise them I was not a police officer and I wanted to know if there was any way I could help get them off the streets. To their surprise I told them I was also Transgender. I was letting them know that I was putting a coalition together in Prince George’s County, MD with Heart to Hand, Inc. I told the girls to remember my face and that I would be out here once or twice a month checking on them. I also told them when they see Prince George’s County Police riding up and down Eastern Ave., that they just wanted to make sure they were safe, and not to arrest them.
Some of plans I want to do, is to help them with a resume, and to sit across the table from them and roll play a job interview. I also would like to team up with a thrift store(s), Good Will or Salvation Army, that might donate clothes to the ladies to go to work in. I believe, we citizens donate clothes to them to sell, how about they donate clothes to the ladies who has a letter from the coalition.
Since my first ride-a-long, I have met and talked with 22 Transwomen and they all have told me the same thing, that they want to get off the street, get a job and a home. Some do have a place to stay, and some will couch surf. One lady I talked with said she is renting a room, and it’s hard to live there because she pays $400.00 a month, which is all of her disability check. She told me she doesn’t want to stay in a shelter because it would be unsafe having to live with men.
I feel I am reaching them slowly, because one of the women has called me twice. This week she called again saying she really wants to get off the streets now, because the other night she was raped. Tonight, February 22, 2020, I will do a ride-a-long to see if I can find her.
You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my personal website at http://www.KKHolmes.com In my next article I’ll talk about “God Has Me Here For A Reason”. Until then Shoot for the Moon and even if You Miss, You’ll Be Among the STARS!
Karen Kendra Holmes works for the Federal Government as a Safety Officer. Besides her full- time job with the Federal Government she is a part-time radio host on WPFW 89.3 FM on the “Inside Out LGBTQ Show” on WPFW 89.3 FM. She also writes a column for Baltimore OUTloud under the column called “Trans Lives”. Karen received the Engendered Spirit Award from Capital Pride on June 7, 2018. She also was a TEDx Speaker with TEDx Asbury Park, NJ on May 19, 2018. In April 2017 she received the “2017 Monica Roberts Advocacy Award”. She was selected in January 2017 by LGBTQ Nation as one of the “Top 50 Successful Transgender Americans You Need to Know”. In May of 2015, she was honored in a special edition among 41 other women from around the world in The Platform Magazine, for up and inspiring females who have made a difference with their platform and inspired others with their positive values towards others. In April 2014 she received the “Willis Greene Community Service Award” and the “Unsung Hero Award-Team” by the Corporation for National & Community Service. In October 2013 she received “Soldier of the Year”, out of the country, by the State Guard Association of the United States out of 24 states and 23 thousand soldiers. In December 2012 she received “NCO Soldier of the Year” by the Maryland State Guard Association and The Maryland Defense Force. She was selected in August 2012 by The International Women’s Leadership Association, "A Woman of Outstanding Leadership in the Business Owner Division".
With the Maryland Defense Force under the Maryland National Guards she was a Staff Sergeant with Force Protection, the Chaplain’s Unit as a Chaplain’s Assistance, Honor Guard, and MWR. She has been doing volunteer work with the American Red Cross for the National Capital Region since 2009 on the Disaster Action Team. For several years, she has been volunteering with Community Emergency Response Team (CERTs) in Prince George's County, MD, and also with the Medical Reserve Corps. She sits on the board for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Prince George's County, MD. Karen also use to sit on the board for DC Metro PFLAG working with the Transgender Community. She is now the chapter president of the Transgender Veterans Support Group (TVSG) for Maryland. Before Karen’s transitioned, she previously volunteered with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission Park Police Prince George's County Division for 7 years, 5 of them as their President, and received several awards for her service, such as two Commander’s Awards and two Volunteer of the Year Awards. In December 2005 she received the Governor’s Crime Prevention Award for her outstanding work and leadership with Park Police Volunteer Association. She has her own side business called SafetyFirst DMV and is certified as an instructor through the National Safety Council (NSC). Karen believes whole heartedly in the importance of and Giving Back to her Community.