The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) is deeply concerned about the death of Zoraida Reyes, a transgender woman of color in Anaheim, California. Zoraida was a well-known and well-loved transgender rights and immigrant rights activist who worked with numerous organizations including community groups such as the Orange County Dream Team, DeColores Queer Orange County and Familia. According to local media reports, Zoraida's body was discovered on Thursday June 12th behind a Dairy Queen. Her death has been ruled suspicious by investigators because it is believed her body was moved to that location, but has not yet been ruled a homicide.
"For many LGBTQ homicide victims, and especially for transgender women and people of color who are disproportionally affected by violence, cause of death and/or motive are never determined," said Osman Ahmed, NCAVP's Research and Education Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. "At NCAVP, we see all too often that institutional responses are not as urgent when our transgender and trans people of color community members lose their lives. This inaction must end."
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) most recent report just released on May 29th, 2014, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2013, documented 18 anti-LGBTQ homicides last year. Of those homicide victims, almost 90% were people of color, yet LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color only represented 55% of total survivors and victims. Almost three-quarters ( 72% ) of homicide victims were transgender women, and more than two-thirds ( 67% ) of homicide victims were transgender women of color.
NCAVP has reached out to local organizations the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Los Angeles, California and DeColores Queer Orange County in Orange County, California to raise awareness of these unsolved homicides and to support the local communities affected by this violence. Locally, a vigil was held on Friday night in Santa Ana in honor of Zoraida's life, and an online fundraising campaign was set up in order to help pay for funeral expenses.
"News of Ms. Reyes' death reverberated throughout the LGBTQ community just one day before Trans Pride weekend here in Los Angeles, a festival where we celebrate our incredible diversity and strength." Said Christopher Argyros, Manager of the Anti-Violence Project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. "In Ms. Reyes' spirit, we must continue to focus resources on the empowerment of trans people, particularly transgender women of color who are most vulnerable to violence. We call for a full investigation into the cause of Zoraida's death. We want justice for the community and peace for Zoraida's family."
"Zoraida Reyes will always be remembered as a fierce and fearless undocumented Transgender Latina activist leader." Said Javier Saucedo, spokesperson for DeColores Queer Orange County." As a long-time member of DeColores Queer Orange County we promise that her work, legacy, and story will continue. We have also assured her family that as a community who loved her dearly, we would finance all cost, so this is not another burden on her family. We continue to fundraise and encourage our community to donate via http://www.gofundme.com/zoraida."
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 LGBTQ and HIV-affected violence. To learn more about our national advocacy and receive technical assistance or support, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .