NCAVP mourns the deaths of Jasmine Collins of Kansas City, MO, and Keyshia Blige of Aurora, IL. These are the 18th and 19th reported homicides of a transgender/gender nonconforming person NCAVP has responded to in 2015.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) has learned of the homicide of Jasmine Collins, a Black transgender woman who was killed in Kansas City, Missouri on June 23rd, 2015. According to media reports, the 33 year-old was stabbed in the parking lot of a local motel. Police have arrested and charged Tia Townsel for 2nd degree murder and armed criminal action. NCAVP has also learned of the homicide of Keyshia Blige, a Black transgender woman, which occurred on March 7th, 2015. According to media reports, Blige was shot and killed while driving with a passenger in Aurora, Illinois. Police believe it was not a random attack. Both of these homicides are only now coming to light due to media outlets and law enforcement agencies misgendering and misnaming of the victims.
These are now the 18th and 19th reported homicides* of a transgender or gender non-conforming person — 17 of whom were transgender women of color — that NCAVP has responded to in 2015. The transgender and gender non-conforming people we have lost to violence in 2015 include:
Papi Edwards, a black transgender woman, was shot to death at the Fern Valley Motel on January 9th, 2015. An alleged suspect, Henry Richard Gleaves, has been arrested and charged with her murder.
Lamia Beard, a black transgender woman, was found shot to death on January 17th in Norfolk, Virginia.
Ty Underwood, a black transgender woman, was found shot to death early Monday morning on January 26th, after a woman called 911 to say a car had hit a telephone pole and that her children had heard gunshots. Her loved ones are speaking out, saying that they believe this was a hate crime.
Yazmin Vash Payne, a black transgender woman, was discovered fatally stabbed to death on Saturday, January 31st at the scene of a house fire in the Van Nuys district of Los Angeles. Payne's boyfriend, Ezekiel Dear, has been arrested and booked for suspicion of murder in connection with her death.
Taja Gabrielle de Jesus, a latin@ transgender woman, was discovered stabbed to death on a stairwell in San Francisco's Bayview District on Sunday, February 1st.
Penny Proud, a black transgender woman, was found fatally shot on February 10th at the cross section of Ursulines Avenue and North Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Kristina Gomez Reinwald, a latin@ transgender woman, was found unresponsive in her home on February 15, 2015 and her death is being investigated as a homicide.
London Chanel, A black transgender woman stabbed to death in Philadelphia on Monday, May 8th, she was stabbed by her roommate's boyfriend in North Philadelphia.
Mercedes Williamson, transgender woman, was found stabbed to dead and buried in a wooded field in George County, Mississippi on Saturday, May 30th. Josh Brandon Vallum, who reportedly told his father about committing the homicide, has been arrested.
India Clarke, a black transgender woman who was found beaten to death on Tuesday, July 21st in a park area of the University Area Community Center in Tampa, Florida.
K.C. Haggard, a transgender woman was stabbed to death in the street by an individual in a car in front of multiple witnesses in Fresno, California on July 23rd.
Amber Monroe, a black transgender woman, who was shot to death in Detroit, Michigan on August 8th.
Ms. Shade Schuler, a black transgender woman killed in Dallas, Texas on July 29th.
Ashton O'Hara, a black transgender/gender-nonconforming whose body was found July 14th in Detroit, Michigan.
Kandis Capri, a Black transgender woman who was found shot to death in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, August 11th.
Elisha Walker, 20, a Black transgender woman who was found in a shallow grave outside Smithfield, North Carolina. She had not been seen by family or friends since October 2014 and her vehicle was found a month later. Detectives have charged Angel Arias with her murder and for larceny.
Tamara Dominguez, a latin@ transgender woman in Kansas City, Missouri. She was run over multiple times in a church parking lot.
*There are two other homicides of transgender or gender non-conforming individuals in 2015 in which a clear motive has not been established or a bias-motive is not apparent, an individual with the last name Golec and Maya Hall. NCAVP will continue to monitor these incidents and provide updates as they become available.
"In 2015 we have witnessed the highest homicide rate of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. ever recorded by NCAVP" said Chai Jindasurat, Co-Director of Community Organizing and Public Advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. "Our country cannot continue to watch this violence happen without action. We call on public officials, community leaders, and community members to act now to end this crisis of violence against transgender people. We cannot do this alone, and everyone has a part in ending this violence."
NCAVP has reached out to the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project in Kansas City, Missouri and The Illinois Accountability Initiative in Chicago, Illnois to support the local communities affected by these homicides. "The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project ( KCAVP ) is devastated to learn of Jasmine Collins's tragic death," said Justin Shaw, Executive Director at the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project. "Our hearts are heavy with grief that another member of our community was taken too soon. The murder of trans women, particularly trans women of color, is a real epidemic facing our nation. We demand immediate attention on both local and national levels to end this violence."
"It is heartbreaking to hear yet again of another loss of life from a violent attack, the knowledge of which is made even more painful knowing that this beloved and caring child, friend, and community member was still recovering from a brutal anti-gay attack from 2011," said Lisa Gilmore, Executive Director of the Illinois Accountability Initiative. "This loss and these brutal acts of violence and hatred illustrate the vulnerabilities too many LGBTQ people in our communities endure daily. Communities and community leaders must strive to prevent such hatred and violence, as well as develop meaningful ways to hold people accountable when they act in hateful and violent ways toward LGBTQ people. It is time to yet again demand that LGBTQ lives are recognized as valuable, and, therefore, worthy of protection, cared for, and celebrated—and not just during times of tragic loss."
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs' ( NCAVP ) most recent report, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2014, documented 20 anti-LGBTQ homicides in 2014. Of those 20 homicides, a majority ( 55% ) of victims were transgender women, and half ( 50% ) were transgender women of color.
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 .
NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer ( LGBTQ ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.