On Monday afternoon, AVP mobilized over 600 people at Foley Square to mourn the loss of, and demand justice for, Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx transgender woman who was found dead in her cell at Rose M. Singer Center at Rikers on June 7, just eleven days before her next scheduled court date.
The news of Layleen Polanco’s death is particularly hard as it comes during a string of reported deaths of trans women of color. Whether the result of racist and transphobic hate violence, violence from a partner or date, or from neglect and abuse in ICE detention, these deaths highlight an epidemic of violence against trans women of color, particularly impacting Black trans women.
We organized the rally to hold the city and the Department of Corrections accountable and to demand the closure of Rikers. Layleen Polanco’s family, including her sister, mother, brother, along with other family members and close friends were in attendance. Layleen Polanco’s sister,
Melania spoke on behalf of the family, sharing her grief and anger over the lack of answers about the untimely death of her sister. Our support of the family and demands for justice continue.
The Anti-Violence Project calls for transparency and a full, and timely, investigation of Layleen Polanco’s death.
For more information on the rally, see some headlines below:
CNN: She was sent to Rikers Island because she couldn’t pay $500 bail. Now, she’s dead
NY Times: After a Transgender Woman’s Death at Rikers, Calls for Justice and Answers
Washington Post: A transgender woman died in her Rikers cell. Now her family is demanding answers.
For direct updates and information about AVP’s work, join our mailing list, here.
For future AVP rallies and demonstrations, text ANTIVIOLENCE to 555-888.