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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Black Trans Lives Matter: A Tribute

When we say Black Lives Matter, we mean all Black lives. The lives of Black trans and gender-conforming folk are precious, but they are at a higher risk for violence.

In 2020 alone, 10 Black trans folk have already been killed in the United States of America, but their deaths have continued to receive little attention by the media. When the media did cover their stories, authors often referred to victims using incorrect pronouns and by the victims’ former names they no longer use (called a “deadname”).

We at Black Lives Matter Korea want to make clear that we stand with Black trans folk and gender non-conforming folk. We’re sharing the stories of the ten precious Black trans folk in the US who were taken from us too early in order to ensure that they, too, are remembered and honored.

Content warning: the following content include details of transphobic and racist violence.

Bree “Nuk” Black, 27

Bree Nuk Black
Image Source

Bree “Nuk” Black was shot to death in the middle of a crowded street on July 3 in Pompano Beach, Fla. They were repeatedly deadnamed by the press and the police despite contact with Black’s family clarifying their preferred first name (Nuk).

Monika Diamond, 34

Monika Diamond
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Monika Diamond was killed on March 18 in Charlotte, N.C. She was shot while sitting in an ambulance being treated for shortness of breath. She was the co-owner and founder of an event promotion company, and the co-CEO of the International Mother of the Year Pageantry System — a pageant that honors LGBTQIA+ mothers.

Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, 27

Dominique Fells
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Dominique Fells was murdered in Philadelphia. Her body was found on June 8. The investigation into her death is ongoing. She is believed to be the 7th trans woman murdered in Philly since 2013.

Merci Mack, 22

Merci Mack
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Merci Mack was killed on June 30 in Dallas. A witness saw a man chase her and shoot her multiple times while she lay on the ground. A friend reports that Mack’s killer had bullied her since they were children.

Tony McDade, 38

Tony McDade
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Tony McDade was shot and killed by police on May 27, 2020 in Tallahasee, Fla. Reportedly, police were called on suspicion of a fight between McDade and another man. Witnesses say that police opened fire on McDade immediately after arriving at the scene, without first identifying themselves. The police, and some media, have misgendered McDade in their coverage of the incident.

Riah Milton, 25

Riah Milton
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Riah Milton was killed in Liberty Township, Ohio, on June 9. She was lured to a park by three persons in a robbery attempt, and then shot several times. Her sister, Ariel Mary Ann, described Milton as a “joy to be around.”

Shaki Peters, 32

Shaki Peters
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Shaki Peters was killed on July 1 in Amite City, La. She was described by her friend Natahalie Nia Faulk as a “very independent person and very loyal to her friends…full of laughter and an abundance of life.” Faulk, who also identifies as trans, said that the misgendering of Peters by the press was “traumatizing.”

Nina Pop, 28

Nina Pop
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Nina Pop was stabbed to death in her apartment on May 3 in Sikeston, Mo. She was well known in her community and described as “always happy” by her friends. She is the 10th trans person to die of violence in the US in 2020 (that has been reported).

Brayla Stone, 17

Brayla Stone
Image Source

Brayla Stone was found killed on June 25 in Little Rock, Ark. Local media deadnamed Stone in their reports and her family tried to hide her trans identity from the public. A man claiming to be her murderer bragged about the incident on social media. There has been an arrest made but it’s not been confirmed if this is the same man from social media.

Lexi “Ebony” Sutton, 33

Lexi Ebony Sutton
Image Source

Lexi Sutton was killed on March 28 in New York City. She was fatally stabbed in the neck while at work in Harlem River Park. No arrests have been made though there were several witnesses. A friend, Lavonia Brooks, said, “I really looked up to [Lexi] because of her tolerance and respect, Lexi had a beautiful heart; she was very gifted.”

Fundraisers for the Victims

Organizations to Help Support Black Trans Lives

  • https://www.theokraproject.com/ 
    • Bringing food and medical care to Black trans folk.
  • https://srlp.org/
    • The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence.
  • GLITS
    • We approach the health and rights crises faced by transgender sex workers holistically using harm reduction, human rights principles, economic and social justice, along with a commitment to empowerment and pride in finding solutions from our own community.
  • Black trans femmes in the arts
    • The mission of the BTFA Collective is to connect the community of black trans women and non-binary femmes in the arts & to build power among ourselves.

Organizations that Interact with Trans Rights

  • Black and Pink
    • Black and Pink was founded in 2005 on the principles of abolition to dismantle the criminal punishment system and to liberate LGBTQIA2S+ people/people living with HIV/AIDS who are affected by that system, through advocacy, support, and organizing.
  • DecrimNY
    • Working to Decriminalize, Decarcerate, and Destigmatize the Sex Trades in New York City and State.

The Human Rights Commission states that “These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners or strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified. Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into unemployment, poverty, homelessness and/or survival sex work.

While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color — particularly Black transgender women — and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and unchecked access to guns conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare, and other necessities.”

It is our goal here at BLMK to ensure the rights and safety of Black trans people everywhere. Stand with us in saying their names and ensuring that their lives matter.

by Ann Haeyoung

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