WILKINSBURG, PA- The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) mourns the loss of Amariey Lej, a 20-year-old Black transgender woman. Amariey was shot and found lying in the streets of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, on January 1, 2022. Lej was a dancer who shared her gift and passion with the Lady Diamonds dance squad. She also worked with the Legacy Arts Project as a youth artist apprentice. Family described her as a "vibrant soul with a presence that filled every space she entered" and said she "had an unforgettable presence that will be deeply missed."
"I am deeply saddened to learn about Amariey, who we lost on the first day of this year," said Deputy Executive Director Victoria Kirby York. "As we enter this new year, we must remain focused on ending the epidemic of violence facing the transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming community. Currently, sufficient action has not been taken to protect the community, and that must change soon to decrease the level of violence this year. We must continue to demand that those in power, elected officials, law enforcement, media, do better and do more. Enough is enough. We have lost too many siblings."
Amariey Lej is the first transgender person to be killed in 2022. In 2021, NBJC tracked the deaths of 52 trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming people. Most of those we lost last year were Black transgender women like Lej.
The family of Amariey Lej has set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses, which you can donate to HERE.
Learn more about reducing gender-based violence here and here.
Look here to learn more about changing local laws and increasing protections for trans and non-binary community members.
The NBJC Stolen Lives list of trans and non-binary individuals lost to violence and hate can be found here.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is America's leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+, and same gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people including people living with HIV.