NCAVP is deeply saddened by the homicides of three transgender women of color in Jacksonville, Florida since February of 2018 – Celine Walker, Antash’a English, and Cathalina Christina James – and the intimate partner violence related shooting of a black transgender woman. We send care and light to everyone in the Jacksonville community and across the country who have been impacted by these losses and violence.
NCAVP is also angered by the response to this violence by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Despite calls from local activists and community members, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office continues to misgender and misname Celine, Antash’a, and Cathalina. They have been blatantly disrespectful in their investigation of these homicides and to local community members who are healing and seeking justice for their loved ones.
By continuing to release inaccurate information about these women, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office sends the message that they will not take the violence perpetrated against transgender people and people of color seriously. Through their actions, the Sherriff’s Office have become sources of violence in and of themselves.
In 2018 alone, NCAVP has recorded 15 homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people. Of these deaths, 11 were transgender and gender non-conforming people of color and 10 were transgender women of color. Over the last few years, there has been increased media coverage on the violence against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. Loved ones of those whose lives have been taken work tirelessly to ensure that all transgender people are remembered as their full selves, for law enforcement to treat transgender people with respect and dignity, and to prevent further violence.
NCAVP joins the Jacksonville community in calling for:
- A public written and verbal apology from the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office (JSO) for continuously misgendering and misnaming the four black transgender women, three of whom died, who were shot in Jacksonville in 2018.
- JSO staff must participate in gender sensitivity,inclusion and racial bias training in line with current Department of Justice policy and practices.
- A thorough and affirming investigation by the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office in the cases of Celine Walker, Antash’a English, and Cathalina Christina James with input from friends and family of the victims as well as the local community.
- A LGBTQ liaison officer within the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office as has been done in many cities across the country.
Develop a police accountability committee of civilians to create community oversight in police practices and policy. Many cities across the country have been implementing the above asks to work towards repairing the harm of law enforcement on the LGBTQ community, particularly people of color.
NCAVP will continue to fight for the lives of transgender women of color. We will continue to say the names of those whose lives we have lost and hold space for the names we may never know.