The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) is deeply concerned of three unsolved homicides of transgender women of color that occurred during the month of April in 2013, which continues a trend of murders of transgender and gender non-conforming women and people of color in the past few years.
On Wednesday, April 3, Kelly Young, a 29-year-old black transgender woman, was found shot to death inside a home in Baltimore, Maryland. Then on Thursday, April 4, 30-year-old Ashley Sinclair, a black transgender woman, was found shot to death in a wooded area in the Oak Ridge section of Orange County, Florida. And on April 30, another young black transgender woman, Cemia Dove, also known as Ci Ci was found on April 17 in a retention pond in Olmsted Township, Ohio. Dove, a 20-year-old woman, had multiple stab wounds, was tied to a concrete block, and was found naked from the waist down. As of April 30, all three of these homicides remain unsolved.
"Each year, NCAVP tracks the homicides of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in the U.S. in which an anti-LGBTQ motive is known. However for many LGBTQ homicide victims, especially transgender women and people of color who are disproportionally affected by anti-LGBTQ violence, a motive is never determined," said Chai Jindasurat, NCAVP Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. "It is imperative to call attention to these incidents so that the lives of these individuals are not forgotten or overlooked and so that we can bring all resources to bear to discover what happened to them, when that is possible."
NCAVP has seen an increase in the severity of anti-LGBTQ hate violence incidents in the US. NCAVP's most recent report on Hate Violence, documented 30 anti-LGBTQ homicides in 2011, the highest number ever recorded by the coalition. Transgender women made up 40% of the 30 reported hate murders in 2011, while representing only 10% of total hate violence survivors and victims. Of the 30 reported hate murder victims in 2011, 87% were LGBTQ people of color.
NCAVP is collaborating with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and local NCAVP member organizations BRAVO and Sunserve Services to raise awareness of these unsolved homicides and to support the local communities affected by this violence.
The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO), an NCAVP member organization that works to end LGBTQ-related violence and homicide, has issued a press release about Dove's murder, but media failed to pick up the story. "BRAVO is saddened to learn of the most recent hate crime murder, and outraged at the media's flagrant disregard for human dignity," said Gloria McCauley, Executive Director of BRAVO, "Every homicide deserves to be investigated and all possible leads followed so that we can understand what the cause of the homicide was. This is particularly true when the homicide involves a community that we know is at a higher risk of bias-related homicides such as transgender women of color."
"Enough is enough. Three unsolved homicides within one month should elicit a national outcry," said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO at NBJC. "We need to hold our law enforcement officials accountable at every level—from local police departments that need to work tirelessly to find these killers and bring them to justice, to federal agencies such as the Department of Justice that should create a national task force to address the serial killings of Black trans women in this nation. How many more lives must be lost before we take serious action to stop this madness?"
NCAVP is a resource for anyone who experiences violence. For more information, or to locate an anti-violence program in your area, please contact us at email@example.com or visit us online. Join NCAVP in our efforts to prevent and respond to LGBTQH violence. To learn more about our national advocacy and receive technical assistance or support, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .