NCAVP mourns the death of Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, a 32-year-old Black transgender woman in Portland, OR

NCAVP mourns the death of Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, aka Rocky Rhones, a 32-year-old Black transgender woman who was killed in Portland on July 28th. Aja was attending a vigil for another homicide victim, Tyrell Penney, a Black man who was fatally shot earlier in the week, also in Portland.

In a GoFundMe set up for Aja, the family writes that they are “devastated,” and on Facebook a friend calls her death a “great loss.” Despite multiple witnesses, police say they do not have any leads, claiming that vigil attendees were “hostile” and “uncooperative.”

Anyone with information regarding Aja’s murder is encouraged to contact Detective Brad Clifton at 503.823.0696, Brad.Clifton@portlandoregon.gov, or Detective Mike Greenlee at 503.823.0871, Michael.Greenlee@portlandoregon.gov.

NCAVP stands in solidarity with Black trans women, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown 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 Marilyn “Monroe” Cazares, a 24-year-old Latinx transgender woman

NCAVP mourns the death of Marilyn “Monroe” Cazares, a 22-year-old Latinx transgender woman whose body was found brutally murdered in an abandoned building in Brawley, CA on July 13th. Marilyn was discovered by local law enforcement when they were called to put out a nearby couch fire at 8:30 am. The Brawley Police are currently investigating the murder, and Cazares’ family members believe it to be hate violence. “[She] was stabbed and [she] was burned, and, you know, that’s so hateful to do to somebody,” says the victim’s sister Aubrey Cazares.

Marily “Monroe” Cazares was well known by the homeless community in Brawley, including Mary Ann Isaac, manager of the organization Brawley Feed the Need. She “didn’t deserve this… not at all,” says Isaac, remembering her as “the life of the party.” Marilyn loved Marilyn Monroe, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj, and her aunt Sonia Castenada says she “was just fabulous; always rocking crazy outfits, crazy wigs.”

Her sister has arranged a GoFundMe to cover funeral costs, and her family arranged a march from the scene of the crime to the Brawley Police Department to honor and demand #JusticeForMarilyn, and to “protest transphobia.” The Brawley police ask that anyone with information contact Det. Sgt. Jesse Rotner at (760) 351-7777.

NCAVP stands in solidarity with all trans women of color, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black and brown trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long-standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown 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 Jose Isaias Escobar Menendez, a 24-year-old Latinx gay man in Sterling, VA

NCAVP mourns the death of Jose Isaias Escobar Menendez, a 24-year-old Latinx gay man who was fatally shot in Sterling, VA. His body was found along a roadway at around 3:30 am on July 8th, and two men have since been charged for his murder by the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office. A friend of Jose believes this was a hate violence homicide due to his sexuality.

That same friend reported to a local newspaper that Jose “was an amazing friend,” and “He was always that person to hype you up. He just wanted everyone to have a good time.” A cousin of Jose started a now-closed GoFundMe to raise money for funeral costs for the family, which has currently raised over $13,000. “We are as a family completely devastated and broken,” writes his cousin Ricky Alvarenga. Among the donors include strangers and folks who knew Jose, “your son was an amazing man” writes one to his mother, and “[Jose was] the sweetest most loving soul” writes another.

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 Brayla Stone, a 17-year-old Black transgender woman in Arizona

NCAVP mourns the death of Brayla Stone, a 17-year-old Black transgender woman, whose death is being investigated as a homicide by local police in Arkansas.  Brayla’s body was found in a car near a walking path in the Little Rock suburb of Sherwood on June 25th.  Media reports that a person on social media later claimed he was paid five thousand dollars to kill her, but the posts have since been taken down.  Local groups held a candle-light vigil for Brayla, at Boyle Park in Little Rock, to celebrate her life and call for attention to her death, and a Change.org petition already has over 200,000 signatures.  As too often happens, Brayla was misgendered and deadnamed in the media, and so news of her death was not given due attention.  

David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a statement. “Brayla Stone was seventeen years young when someone murdered her because we live in a society where it is not yet explicit that when we say BlackLivesMatter we mean all Black lives, which includes Black trans women and girls.”

NCAVP stands in solidarity with Black trans women, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities.  We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown 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 Merci Mack, a 22-year-old Black transgender woman in Dallas, TX

NCAVP mourns the death of Merci Mack, a 22-year-old Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Dallas, TX, on Tuesday, June 30th, just days after the death of Brayla Stone, 17, in Arkansas on June 25th, and within a month of two Black trans women, Rem’mie Fells (27) and Riah Milton (25), who died in a 24-hour period over June 8th and 9th.  As too often happens, Merci was dead-named in police statement, even though she was identified as a transgender woman.  

Merci’s body was found unconscious in a parking lot of the Rosemont Apartments by a passerby, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Local residents said they heard gunshots around 5 a.m. the same morning, but police haven’t identified any suspects or a motive yet. 

The Dallas Morning News points out that Texas currently leads the nation in murders of transgender people. The state has had 15 anti-trans murders in the last five years and nearly half of them have happened in Dallas. The actual number could be even higher due to underreporting and misgendering of victims.  

NCAVP stands in solidarity with Black trans women, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities.  We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown 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 Jayne Thompson, a 33-year-old white transgender woman in Aurora, CO

NCAVP mourns the death of Jayne Thompson, a 33-year-old white transgender woman, who was shot and killed by a police officer on May 11, 2020. Her death was not initially recognized as another loss of a trans woman, due to misgendering and deadnaming in the media and by police. While Jayne was killed in Colorado, she lived in Arizona.  

The news of Jayne’s death came to light as yet another trans woman, Selena Reyes Hernandez’ death was revealed, similarly delayed due to deadnaming and misgendering by police, medical examiner, and media.  News of Jayne’s loss also comes on the heels of the violent deaths of two Black trans women last week, Rem’mie Fells and Riah Milton, who died in a 24-hour period.  

NCAVP stands in solidarity with all trans women, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities.  We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown 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 Selena Reyes Hernandez, a 37-year-old Latinx transgender woman in Chicago, IL

NCAVP mourns the death of Selena Reyes Hernandez, a 37-year-old Latinx transgender woman, was shot and killed in her home in the Southside of Chicago, by an 18 year old high school student on May 31, 2020.  Her killer told police that he killed Selena because he learned she was trans. Selena’s death did not immediately come to light in queer media, due to misgendering and deadnaming in the media, by the medical examiner, and by police, similar to what occurred around the death of Jayne Thompson in Colorado.  News of Selena’s loss also comes on the heels of the violent deaths of two Black trans women last week, Rem’mie Fells and Riah Milton, who died in a 24-hour period.  

NCAVP stands in solidarity with all trans women of color, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities.  We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black and brown trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown 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 Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a 27-year-old Black transgender woman in Philadelphia, PA

NCAVP mourns the death of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a 27-year-old Black transgender woman, whose June 8, 2020 death was ruled a homicide, according to the Philadelphia Police, speaking to media sources.  Rem’mie’s death onJune 8th was just one day before Riah Milton, another Black trans woman, was shot and killed during a robbery in Liberty Township, Ohio. 

Kendall Stephens, a friend of Rem’mie’s, shares: “We’re devastated.  We live with a constant fear of being assaulted and being murdered before our time. It seems to be a person of trans experience of color, that’s like a death sentence.”  Kendall also shared that Rem’mie was a social butterfly who was very close to her mother, and was making plans to go back to school with dreams of being a fashion designer.  Kendall shares that Rem’mie was also a dancer and artist, a vibrant person, who “ lived her truth so loud that you could hear her a mile away.”  

Rem’mie’s family and friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses. 

NCAVP stands in solidarity with Black trans women, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities.  We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown 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 Riah Milton, a 25-year old Black trans woman in Liberty Township, OH

NCAVP mourns the death of Riah Milton, a 25-year old Black trans woman who was shot and killed during a robbery in Liberty Township, Ohio on June 9th, according to media reports.  Riah’s death occurred just one day after the death of  Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, 27, whose death has been ruled a homicide.

Riah worked as a home health aide.  Her mother shared that Riah loved traveling and being outside, was outgoing, helpful, and always put her family first.  Riah’s sister, Ariel Mary Ann shared, “My sister Riah, she was a joyful person,” she said. “She loved her family and she loved her friends. She was just a joy to be around.”

With help from friends, loved ones and online supporters, a GoFundMe meant to pay for Milton’s funeral exceeded its $3,500 goal by tens of thousands of dollars.

NCAVP stands in solidarity with Black trans women, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities.  We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown 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.

AVP Calls For An Immediate End To Solitary Confinement

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City’s plan to end solitary confinement for those with serious medical conditions effective immediately, and an end to solitary confinement for all in New York City by October. During his announcement he acknowledged that Layleen Polanco should not have been in solitary confinement. This step is necessary but does not go nearly far enough. AVP calls for an immediate end to solitary confinement.

This announcement comes after years of hard work from advocates including the #HALTsolitary campaign and Jails Action Coalition, and supported by AVP after the death of Layleen Polanco. The campaign to end solitary is led by survivors of solitary confinement and family members of those who have died in solitary, who have pushed for an end to this torture since 2013. As the #HALTsolitary campaign has said in their statement, “Layleen Polanco died in solitary over one year ago. Kalief Browder died because of solitary confinement over five years ago. Bradley Ballard died in solitary confinement nearly seven years ago. Jason Echeverria died in solitary confinement nearly eight years ago. Carina Montes died in solitary over 17 years ago. Eliminate this practice now.”

The creation of a working group to figure out how to end solitary confinement is a stalling tactic and unnecessary. The #HALTsolitary Campaign has previously released a detailed plan on how to end solitary confinement once and for all. It does not take a four person work group, over several months, to come up with a simple answer; to end solitary confinement it is simple, stop putting people in solitary confinement.

The Board of Corrections has allegedly been working on ending solitary confinement for over three years now. They have the opportunity to vote and end this violent practice immediately during a scheduled July 14 meeting. New York City cannot wait months for solitary confinement to end. Everyday that passes is a day in which another person could be killed by this inhumane practice. Solitary confinement must end today.

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