Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice, Mapping a Detroit Story

DIRECTOR: dream hampton

Bay Area Premiere

Shelly “Treasure” Hilliard, a young African American transwoman, died violently in 2011 after Detroit police threatened, coerced, and eventually exposed her as an informant against her drug dealers.

Though director dream hampton does not shy away from the gruesome reality of Treasure’s murder, heart-wrenching interviews keep the focus on Treasure as a friend who conveyed “24-hour realness,” as part of a vibrant local trans community and as a sister and daughter loved by a family that supported her living her truth.

As the details of what led up to the crime unfold, we are also shown affirming safe spaces within the desolation of the city, like the Ruth Ellis Center, where trans justice advocates and outreach workers teach classes and rally around each other to promote healing in the aftermath of a tragedy. Treasure’s murder isn’t merely a hate crime; on a broader level, it is a travesty that displays the interworking consequences of society’s failings: racism, transphobia, the exploitation of sex workers, classism, systematic oppression, government indifference, and the continued criminalization of black bodies.

— Angelique Smith

This film contains discussions of transphobic violence.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D321

Co-presented by:
ADL - Anti-Defamation League
Project AFFIRM

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