Trans Pride Initiative is inviting everyone to participate in a Community Candlelight Memorial and Rally for Trans Inclusiveness on Friday, March 3, from 7-8 p.m. at Reverchon Park Recreation Center, 3400 Maple Ave.
“We invite you to celebrate the love and lives of our transgender sisters and brother we’ve lost this year,” organizer Shannon Walker wrote on the Facebook page announcing the event. “We are getting off to a horrible start in 2017, so community awareness and support is desperately needed at this urgent time.”
Walker said the vigil will be live-streamed on Facebook so that those unable to attend can participate through the Trans Pride Initiative Facebook page, and “say their names:”
• Mesha Caldwell: 41-year-old hairstylist and makeup artist in Canton, Miss., found shot to death on Jan. 4, near a road just outside the Canton city limits. Police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports misgendered Caldwell.
• Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow: 28-year-old customer service agent for Lawrence & Schiller Teleservices, found dead in her apartment in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Jan. 6. She was a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and was a member of the Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies group. A member of that group suggested she may have been killed as early as Jan. 1. Police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports misgendered Wounded Arrow.
• JoJo Striker: 23-year-old Toledo, Ohio woman found in an empty garage on Feb. 8. She died of a single gunshot wound to her torso, and police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports and statements from her family misgendered Striker.
• KeKe Collier: 24-year-old Chicago resident was killed Tuesday, Feb. 21, while sitting in a car with a man in the Englewood neighborhood where she lived. She died of multiple gunshot wounds. Initial reports in the Chicago Tribune identified Collier — also known as Tiara Richmond — by the first name “Donnell.” She was the second trans woman murdered in Chicago within six months; T.T. Safore, 28, was found dead, her throat cut, Sept. 11 near railroad tracks in the West Garfield Park area.
• Chyna Gibson: 31-year-old, also known as Chyna Doll Dupree, currently living in California, was shot to death Feb. 25 in New Orleans, where she had gone to visit family for Mardi Gras. Witnesses reported hearing as many as 10 gunshots. Gibson was a popular entertainer on the House/Ball and pageant circuits, and memorials for her were held in Dallas and in Houston.
• Ciara McElveen: 21-year-old New Orleans resident murdered Feb. 27, just two days after Chyna Gibson was shot to death. A witness said that a man stabbed McElveen in his car, then pulled her from the car, slammed her head on the pavement and ran over her before leaving the scene. Initial media reports misgendered McElveen.
• Jaquarrius Holland: 18-year-old Monroe, La., resident was shot to death during a verbal altercation on Feb. 19, but was initially misgendered by media reports. Monroe police have issued an arrest warrant for Malcom Derricktavious Harvey in connection with Holland’s death.
• Sean Ryan Hake: 23-year-old trans man, shot to death on Jan. 6 by a Sharon, Penn. police officers who were responding to a 9-11 domestic violence call at the home Hake shared with his mother. The Mercer County D.A.’s office opted not to file charges against the officers who shot Hake, saying that he was armed with a utility knife, had threatened his mother with the knife, was bleeding from his wrist, and then advanced on the officers with the knife, despite their warnings. Hake’s family has said they do not believe deadly force was warranted.