#BlackTransLives honored in RVA as part of national event
About a handful of RVA activists gathered in Monroe Park last week to honor Black transgender people lost to violence – over 20 have been murdered in the US so far this year, including at least one from Virginia.
Local activist Shan Davis, 24, lead a portion of Tuesday’s event near VCU’s Monroe Park campus.
He joined up with Black Action Now (BAN) about 6 months ago, but he’s since used the group’s networks to hold events like this. Davis said he’d worked with traditional #BlackLivesMatter folks before, but felt trans people of color were not getting the same amount of support as cisgendered folks. BAN has held a number of demonstrations since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MI, but within the national BAN organization, Davis said trans folks have felt silenced.
“We’ve not gotten the same support from cisgender people when someone is murdered for being Black and trans or queer,” he said. This lack of acknowledgment has lead Davis to link up with other organizers around the nation to help grow the Black Trans Lives Matter movement within the broader public push.
“There is exclusion cause people just don’t know – they only pay attention to larger media which doesn’t talks about Black men and women, but not trans people,” he said.
Davis said the Black Trans Lives movement was about more than just those who’ve become victims of violence. “We’re still looking for Sage Smith (a Black trans women who went missing in Charlottesville) and Black trans women in prison or jails.”
Tuesday’s event was part of the national effort, a Black Trans Lives Matter National day of protest, and while the local event was small, events around the nation – from Atlanta to New York, were met with a surprising amount of media attention.
“Folks moved quickly and it was impressive how people got these events together,” said Davis. “Folks participated in what ever capacity they were able to.”
Richmond’s event involved a vigil with the names of those lost read before the modest crowd.
Watch the reading below:
Video and top image via Ted Lewis
Below is a list of trans people unlawfully killed in 2015 via Wiki
Papi Edwards of Indianapolis Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, died of a single bullet wound to the chest at Fern Valley Motel on 9 January. Henry Richard Gleaves was arrested for Papi’s murder and is being held on a $500,000 bond. The Advocate, among other media sources, originally reported that Papi Edwards identified as a gay man answering to Lamar and/or Goddess, who likely participated in drag. It has since been confirmed by others close to Papi, and reported by various sources that Edwards identified as a female.  
Lamia Beard of Norfolk, Virginia was found with life-threatening gunshot wounds on the morning of 17 January. She was taken to the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where she died.
Ty Underwood of Tyler, Texas was found in her car, dead from three gunshot wounds, on 26 January. Her roommate feels she may have been targeted because she was a transgender woman.
Yazmin Vash Payne of Van Nuys, California was found stabbed and burned to death in her apartment on 31 January. The following day her boyfriend confessed to the murder and surrendered to police.
Taja DeJesus was stabbed to death in San Francisco, California on 3 February 2015. She was 36 years old. The man believed to have stabbed her, James Hays 49, was found dead hanging a short distance away.
Penny Proud of New Orleans, Louisiana was fatally shot multiple times on 10 February.
Bri Golec of Akron, Ohio was stabbed to death by her father, Kevin Golic on 13 February 2015. Bri was 22 years old. According to a bandmate, Brian dropped the trans identifier about a year ago. He now identified as an androgynous pansexual man. His father called 911 after the stabbing claiming it was “the cult” that had broken in and stabbed Brian. The cult he referred to is believed to be a local trans support group. Police determined that no one had broken in. Kevin Golic is being charged with murder and felony domestic violence.
Kristina Gomez Reinwald of Miami, Florida, was found dead in her apartment on 15 February. She was 46 years old. The case was initially considered a suicide, but news broke on 19 February that police are now treating it as homicide.
Sumaya Ysl of Toronto, Canada, was found dead on 22 February. She was 26 years old.
Keyshia Blige, a 33 year old from Mongtomery, IL, was killed 7 March 2015. Blige was shot while driving and crashed while attempting to drive herself to the hospital. “Police declined to comment on the motive for the shooting, but described it as “not random.” Though she had performed for many years under the name, Blige just started transitioning in January of 2015. “Stiff’s mother said, though her [child] had begun taking the hormones in January, already she noticed a new glow to [her] skin.” Blige was reported as male in the news.
Vanessa Santillan, a 33 year old from Miami, Florida, was fatally beaten on the head and neck in an apartment in Fulham, London, England on March 28, after responding to a neighbor’s phone call.
Mya Hall, a twenty-seven-year-old transgender sex worker from Baltimore, Maryland, was killed by police on Monday, March 30, after taking a wrong turn in a stolen SUV and crashing into a security post on the National Security Agency’s campus. Police assumed that the accident was a terrorist attack and immediately opened fire on Hall and her companion, Brittany Fleming, aged twenty. Fleming survived.
London Chanel, a 21 year old, died May 18 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after being fatally stabbed in the back and neck by Raheam Felton, who was the boyfriend of one of her roommates.
Mercedes Williamson, a 17-year-old from Alabama was killed in George County, Mississippi by Josh Vallum. Her body was found June 2 after Vallum told his father about the murder.
Jasmine Collins was stabbed to death in Kansas City on June 23. 
Ashton O’Hara, 25 years old, was found murdered in a Detroit field on July 14. Ashton went by male pronouns and identified as genderfluid and transgender. 
India Clarke, 25 years old, was found dead in a Tampa, Florida park on July 21st. She died due to blunt force trauma and her death is being investigated as a murder. 
K.C. Haggard, 66 years old, stabbed in the neck from a vehicle in Fresno, California on July 23rd. 
Amber Monroe, 20 years old, shot in Detroit, MI on August 8th. This was her third time being shot, but her fear of the police kept her from reporting other times. 
Shade Schuler, 22 year old woman of color, found in a field in Dallas, TX on July 29th. There are no leads on the murder as Ms. Shade’s body was so badly decomposed when found that it took two weeks to identify her. 
Kandis Capri, 35, was shot in Phoenix, Arizona on August 11th. 
Elisha Walker’s body was found in a shallow grave in Johnston County, North Carolina on August 15. She had been reported missing a year before. 
Tamara Dominguez aged 36 of Kansas City, Missouri was run over by an SUV truck multiple times on 15th August at 3am local time.
“You identify [sic] does not trump my little girls safety.”April 27, 2016
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- VCU’s only openly trans professor interviewed on CBC radio about trans violence, January 9, 2015
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