NCAVP mourns the death of Diamond Stephens, a 39 year-old black transgender woman, in Meridian, MS

NCAVP mourns the death of Diamond Stephens, a 39 year-old black transgender woman, in Meridian, MS.  As reported in Transgriot, Stephens was found dead on Monday, June 18 from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Meridian police are still looking for a suspect and motive. This marks the 11th loss of a black transgender woman in 2018.

NCAVP was made aware of the incident only recently due to police and news media misgendering and deadnaming the victim in reports.

A vigil was held to celebrate her incredible personality and her life. Police and family members encourage anyone with information to call 855-485-8477.

We send our love and care to her friends and loved ones.

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 bilingual 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.

NCAVP mourns the death of Sasha Garden in Orange County, FL

NCAVP mourns the death of Sasha Garden, a 27 year-old black transgender woman, in Orange County, FL.  According to media reports, Garden was found the morning of July 19, 2018 behind an apartment building near Orange Blossom Trail. Police believe she may not have been a resident but was a sex worker in the area.

Garden was known as outspoken and dreamt of becoming a hairdresser. A vigil will be held in the coming days to honor her. Police encourage anyone with information to call 800-423-8477.

We send our love and care to her friends and loved ones.

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 bilingual 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.

NCAVP joins Jacksonville Transgender community in demanding accountability from Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

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.

AVP learns of incident at RIIS Beach

AVP has learned of a violent incident involving police at Riis Beach that occurred on Sunday, July 1, 2018. If you have been impacted by the incident and would like to report or to seek support, reach out to AVP by calling our free and confidential 24/7 bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline at 212-714-1141 or our online reporting form.

AVP is reaching out to Parks Enforcement Patrol and the New York City Police Department for further information. We will be doing outreach in Riis Park in the weeks ahead to hand out safety information and Know Your Rights resources. AVP will also provide opportunities for community members to attend Know Your Rights training sessions.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • If you’ve called the police, introduce yourself when they arrive. This shows that you know to report misconduct.
  • If you are harassed or attacked by the police, get their name and badge/car numbers.
  • You do not have to consent to a search of your person, your car, or your house. Do not try to stop police from searching you. Instead, repeat out loud, “I do not consent to this search.”
  • You have the right to watch and document police activities. Take video and pictures at a safe distance.

 

AVP encourages you to report violence you experience or witness to our free and confidential 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline at 212-714-1141 where you can speak with a trained counselor and seek support, or you can report violence anonymously online, or to ask for a counselor to reach out to you.

NCAVP mourns the death of Keisha Wells in Cleveland, OH

NCAVP mourns the death of Keisha Wells, a 58 year-old black transgender woman, in Cleveland, OH. According to local reports, Wells was shot and killed in a parking lot and found in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 24. The suspect is still large at this time. Police have charged James Butler, who is not yet in custody, in connection as he helped dispose of her body.

The loss of Keisha Wells, who was a life-long resident of Cleveland, marks the 2nd transgender person killed in the city in 4 months. On February 23, Phylicia Mitchell was shot and killed outside of her home.

Wells was affectionately known as “Pokey” and described by her aunt, Regina Spicer, as a funny and generous woman. We send our love and care to her family and loved ones.

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 bilingual 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.

NCAVP mourns the death of Cathalina Christina James in Jacksonville, FL

NCAVP mourns the death of Cathalina Christina James, a black transgender woman, in Jacksonville, FL. This is the 4th reported shooting incident against a transgender person in the area this year. According to media reports, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office initially reported Cathalina was shot at the Quality Inn on Sunday, June 24 around 1pm. Yet again, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office misgendered and deadnamed the victim. Advocates and friends who knew her reached out to ensure accurate reporting and investigation.

Earlier this month an unidentified transgender woman was shot by her boyfriend, Ronald Diquan Bost, who is now facing attempted murder charges.

Just one week prior, Antash’a English, a well-known performer who won many titles in the transgender pageantry circuit, was shot and killed.

In March we reported the loss of Celine Walker who was shot and killed in a hotel. The suspect is still at large.

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. We send our love and care to the Jacksonville community and Cathalina’s loved ones.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual 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.

Tips To Stay Safe during PRIDE

Every year, millions of LGBTQ people and our allies attend events, rallies, and marches around the world commemorating the Stonewall Riots while celebrating our queer identities. Pride holds a lot of significance for LGBTQ people, in remembering both our history and present, as we continue the fight for equity and justice.

Yet despite some legislative wins and cultural shifts, there is still much to be done for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ people – especially in regards to curbing and ending anti-LGBTQ hate violence. In the last few months, the Anti-Violence Project has tracked numerous incidents across the country in which LGBTQ bars and nightclubs were targeted for hate violence.

 
As New York City began pride season this month, with pride celebrations in Queens and Brooklyn, there has been an uptick in violence locally as well.

During Queens Pride, 25 year-old elementary school teacher Brandon Soriano was physically attacked by a group of men as they yelled anti-gay slurs. Five days later, a transgender undocumented woman, who wishes to remain anonymous fearing deportation, was stabbed five times. These two incidents happened blocks from each other.

While preparing for Pride celebrations, it’s important to create a safety plan before attending the events or parties:

  • If at all possible, don’t attend Pride events alone. Designate a Pride buddy that can act as an accountability partner and safety plan with them.
  • Let someone who won’t be with you know your plans for the day/night. Let that person know who you’ll be with and if plans change. Brainstorm in advance ways people can contact and support you.
  • Charge your electronics and bring chargers and/or extra battery packs.
  • Write down phone numbers of friends or family on a piece of paper in case your cell phone dies.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Locate public spaces and 24-hour businesses to seek help if you feel unsafe.
  • Always trust your instincts. If you feel threatened or unsafe, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.
  • Notify event organizers or nightclub staff if you face violence or harassment for immediate support.
  • Use words to alert bystanders and get away if you can.

 
When gathering as a community for Pride celebrations, it’s important to be intentional in maintaining safety in the space together. Pride goers who witness violence can curb it by intervening, when it is safe to do so.

  • Consider your power and privilege in a situation, and consider the ways in which you can be most effective in helping another. Many times the best way to intervene doesn’t require becoming physically involved.
  • If you witness hate violence you can make your presence known by asking questions and talking to both the survivor and the perpetrator.
  • Speak up, be LOUD, and call out what’s happening: identifying violence by name can help deter it.
  • Distract and divert the attacker’s attention by making a scene, and being noisy to draw the attention of others.
  • Record what’s happening by taking video on your phone.
  • Ask what support the survivor needs and provide it if you can.
  • If the violence is being perpetrated by the police you can record, observe, and verbally intervene, but physically intervening is illegal. Get the names, badge and car numbers of officers involved.

 
As always, AVP is here for you whether you’re a bystander or survivor: Save our hotline number (212-714-1141) into your phone and call us for safety planning help or support.

Call on Congress to stop family separation and protect immigrant survivors

NCAVP joins The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence in calling for Congress to stop family separation and protect immigrant survivors!

Call Your Member of Congress today to Stop Family Separation and Protect Immigrant Survivors.

Find your Congressional Representative here and Tell Them to Oppose the two pending “moderate” (sic) Immigration Bills that Harm Survivors of Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on two harmful immigration bills on Thursday, Please urge your Representatives to VOTE NO on:

Both of these bills attempt to address the Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for several hundred thousand young people, but unnecessarily restrict access to the program, make drastic reductions to legal immigration, and eliminate protections for vulnerable children, many of whom are fleeing sexual and domestic violence or human trafficking, created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). Also, neither of these bills will stop the Administration’s inhumane and shameful family separation policy.

Call your Representative today! Find your Representative to Congress here, using your zip code.

What To Say:

My name is _______and I’m calling from . I’m calling today to tell to vote NO on both the Goodlatte bill (HR 4760) and the Paul Ryan Border Security And Immigration Reform Act (HR 6136). These bills will harm domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, fail to adequately protect Dreamers, limit protections existing for abused and neglected children, and fail to address the family separation crisis at the border.

Background Information:

The American Immigration Lawyers’ Association has a brief summary of both bills available here.

Specific Impacts of HR 4760 on immigrant survivors:

  • Eliminates the ability of abused parents of U.S. citizens to apply for VAWA self-petition protections
  • Places limits on individuals on temporary worker (H) visas from filing civil actions for damages against their employers, potentially limiting the ability of those sexually assaulted or harassed at work from accessing justice
  • Establishes a benefit fraud assessment on various immigration programs including VAWA self-petitions, fiancée visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile Visas, U-Crime victim visas, and asylum, among other immigration programs
  • Bars abused family members, including abused ex-spouses, of drug traffickers from obtaining legal status.
  • Undermines policies that local welcoming jurisdictions have determined are Constitutionally sound and are appropriate for their respective communities, and they decrease the ability of local law enforcement agencies to respond to violent crimes and assist all victims of crime, U.S. Citizens and immigrants alike.
  • Attempts to coerce local law enforcement agencies into sharing information with ICE by placing restrictions on federal law enforcement funding in grant conditions.
  • Expands criminal penalties for those who are present without authorization.
  • Expands immigration penalties for individuals with domestic violence convictions, as well as the types of evidence immigration courts can consider in deporting individuals with domestic violence convictions.
  • Reduces access to Special Immigrant Juvenile status for abused and neglected children.

 

Specific Impacts of HR 6136 on immigrant survivors:

  • Excludes more potential DREAMERS from accessing a new “contingent visa” by excluding more individuals with certain domestic violence and child abuse convictions. The bill cross-references the broad Violence Against Women Act definitions of domestic violence and child abuse to exclude more potential DACA beneficiaries with such convictions. This cross-reference will create difficulties in expanding access to services for victims in other, future VAWA legislation by tying the definitions in VAWA to immigration consequences.
  • Expands definitions relating to domestic violence as a basis for deporting individuals and fails to provide exceptions or waivers for survivors who may have used violence against their abusers.
  • Undermines the work of local communities who’ve implemented welcoming policies that reduce law enforcement collaboration with ICE, policies that encourage immigrant victims to come forward, seek help, and cooperate with police.
  • Undermines important protections for minors who are fleeing sexual assault, domestic violence, and abuse who arrive from Northern Triangle countries, making it easier to deport them back to their countries from which they are fleeing violence.
  • Makes it harder for asylum seekers to flee persecution by increasing the standard of proof need to apply, likely halving the number of asylum seekers. By changing the law to facilitate the quick deportations of asylum seekers and make it harder to apply for asylum, victims fleeing sexual and domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence, who could articulate a genuine fear of persecution will be deported anyway without the chance to collect evidence or present witnesses before a judge.

 

For more information contact ghuang@api-gbv.org.

AVP learns of back to back anti-LGBTQ incidents in Queens

AVP learns of back to back anti-LGBTQ incidents in Queens; our work is not done.

On Sunday, June 3, 25 year-old elementary school teacher Brandon Soriano was enjoying the Queens Pride festivities. At around 10 pm, he decided to pick up some food before heading home. It was then Soriano heard someone yell an anti-gay slur, right before being physically attacked by a group of men until he became unconscious.

Five days later, a transgender woman was stabbed five times by a man just a few blocks away from where Soriano was attacked. Because of she is undocumented, transgender, and a sex worker, she is afraid to report the crime to authorities. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported in its 2016 Hate Violence Report there was a 53% decrease over the last two years in survivors interacting with the police because of fear of bias, discrimination, and violence if they were to reach out to them.

TAKE ACTION

 

 

And you can always:

  • Report violence you experience or witness to AVP.
  • If you know someone who is an LGBTQ survivor of violence who is experiencing trauma or fear as a result of these recent actions, encourage them to contact AVP’s confidential 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141. They will be connected with a counselor who understands the ways this political climate is affecting our communities.
  • Get involved – volunteer with AVP!
  • Support AVP: Give now to ensure our voices are heard

NCAVP mourns the death of Antash’a English, a 38 year-old black transgender woman, in Jacksonville, FL

NCAVP mourns the death of Antash’a English, a 38 year-old black transgender woman, in Jacksonville, FL.  According to media reports, English was found between 2 houses suffering from a gunshot wound on Friday, June 1st. Before succumbing to her injury, she informed police that the suspect was wearing a gray hoodie and left in a grey four-door vehicle. Initial reports from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office misgendered and deadnamed the victim. Advocates and friends who knew her reached out to ensure accurate reporting.

English was very well-known and loved in the community and won many titles in the transgender pageantry circuit. Less than a month ago, she celebrated her first day at her new job.

A candlelight vigil and balloon release will be held followed by a benefit show at InCahoots Night Club where she was a featured performer for 10 years.

We send our love and care to her friends and loved ones.

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 bilingual 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.