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NCAVP mourns the death of Michellyn Ramos Vargas, a 33-year-old Latinx transgender woman who was found on an isolated road after suffering gunshot wounds on September 30th in San Germán, Puerto Rico. Police say they are unsure what motivated the fatal shooting.
Michellyn was a factory worker in Sabana Grande who lived in El Carmen de Mayagüez. On Facebook, one of her close friends mourns her death, stating (translated from Spanish): “Rest in peace dear friend Michellyn … Thank you for all the good laughs and for sharing your ideas.” Her friend then goes on to use the Spanish hashtags #NotOneMore and #JusticeForMichy
Michellyn’s death marks the 6th hate violence related death of trans and gender non-conforming people in Puerto Rico – a particulary violent year for the island. The other victims were Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Alexa Ruiz, Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Layla Pelaez Sánchez, and Yampi Mendez Arocho. On her death, human rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano holds the Puerto Rican government and upcoming candidates responsible for her muder, citing their lack of empathy and sensitivity towards an education with a gender perspective.” “They are responsible for these murders and should be ashamed,” he adds.
Amárilis Pagán, Executive director of women’s rights org Proyecto Matria encourages the Puerto Rican government to investigate the death as a hate crime, claiming that Michellyn was well known in San Germán. She states “the lives of transgender people matter and their violent deaths must be investigated.”
We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilngual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.
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.