NCAVP mourns the death of 33-year-old Puerto Rican, transgender woman, Michellyn Ramos Vargas, in San Germán, Puerto Rico

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.

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of 32-year-old Rebecca Gavilanez Alectus in Brick Township, TX

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic violence detailed in linked story

NCAVP mourns the death of Rebecca Gavilanez Alectus, a 32-year-old queer Black woman whose life was tragically lost to intimate partner violence in Brick Township, TX on May 17, 2020. According to local reports, Rebecca became the fatal victim of a violent assault after wife, Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, 48, attacked her.

A friend shared with reporters, “Rebecca… told her coworker that she had feared for her safety in the days before her death after telling her wife she no longer wanted to stay in the relationship, authorities said.”

After being arrested in Houston, TX, Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus faces weapon and murder charges.

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of 30-year-old Christopher Rodriguez in Harlem, NY

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic violence detailed in linked story

NCAVP mourns the death of Christopher Rodriguez, a 30-year-old gay man whose life was tragically lost to violence in Harlem, New York on May 16, 2020. According to local reports, Christopher became the fatal victim of an assault on Mother’s Day, after a friend he took in to stay with him in his apartment, Aljo Mrkulic, 31, brutally attacked him.

Christopher was a Lehman College graduate who spent his time tending to and taking care of his family. Christopher’s mother, Jacqueline Perez says, “He was the center of our family.” She says, “He always went to parties to dance. He was always taking care of animals. He would even feed cats in the street.” We send our deepest condolences in light of this tragic loss.

Local police are continuing to investigate Aljo Mrkulic who was taken into custody following the attack. Christopher’s brother is crowdfunding funeral costs. You can donate to that fund here.

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of 28-year-old Nina Pop in Sikeston, Missouri

NCAVP mourns the death of  Nina Pop, a 28-year-old Black transgender woman whose life was tragically lost to violence in Sikeston, Missouri on May 3, 2020. Currently under police investigation, Nina was found dead in her apartment with injuries from an apparent assault.

In local reports, Nina’s friend,  Emory McCauley mourns, “She was always happy and we try not to take that personally, but it hits home a little bit.” On her Facebook page, friends remember her, “everyone knew and loved you.”

Local police are continuing this investigation and seeking motive for potential hate crime charges.

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of 21-year-old Puerto Rican, transgender woman, Layla Pelaez Sánchez, in Humacao, Puerto Rico

NCAVP mourns the death of 21-year-old Layla Pelaez Sánchez, whose life was tragically lost to violence in Humacao Puerto Rico on April 21, 2020. In a heinous act, Layla was found dead alongside Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, 32,  a fellow New York native and Puerto Rican transgender woman.

According to the NY Times, Luz Melendez, 29, Layla’s cousin, described her as “an easygoing young woman who had been raised by her grandmother and was just beginning to explore the world.” Her grandmother, Ms. Melendez, told the Times, “[Layla] didn’t have bad friends and she was never in the street. It caught us by surprise since she transitioned so easily and she didn’t ever have any issues.” We send our deepest condolences to Layla and Serena’s family and friends.

Two men have been arrested in connection with this act of violence and local police are continuing this investigation as a hate crime.

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of 32-year-old Puerto Rican, transgender woman, Serena Angelique Velázquez, in Humacao, Puerto Rico

NCAVP mourns the death of 32-year-old Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, whose life was tragically lost to violence in Puerto Rico on April 21, 2020. In a heinous act, Sánchez, was found dead alongside Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21, a fellow New York native and Puerto Rican transgender woman.

According to reports, Serena was visiting Puerto Rico on vacation from her home in Queens, New York. In many online tributes, she is remembered fondly as a “happy person” and a “sincere friend.” An alumni of Universidad del Turabo, Serena maintained a YouTube channel teaching her audience about her personal spiritual practices. We send our deepest condolences to Serena and Layla’s family and friends.

Two men have been arrested in connection with this act of violence and local police are continuing this investigation as a hate crime.

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of Johanna Metzger, Baltimore, MD

NCAVP mourns the death of Johanna Metzger, whose life was tragically lost in Baltimore, MD on April 14, 2020, after a stabbing on April 11, 2020. According to local media reports, her mother reported that Johanna was a self-taught musician of multiple instruments and a college graduate.

Ahead of Tuesday’s virtual vigil held in Johanna’s honor, the Baltimore Safe Haven, a LQBTQ Center in Baltimore, released a statement, “The trans community LQBTQ nonconforming community matters and [the local government] needs to step up and address this throughout the city.” We send our deepest condolences to Johanna’s mother, family, and friends.

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of 32-year-old Penélope Díaz Ramírez in Puerto Rico

NCAVP mourns the death of 32-year-old, Puerto Rican transgender woman Penélope Díaz Ramírez, whose life was tragically lost to violence at the Bayamon correctional in Puerto Rico on April 13, 2020. Few details have been released about Penelope’s life and death. According to reports, Julio Serrano of the Coalition for the Search for Equity, a Puerto Rican LGBTQ group states,  “The police have the obligation to disclose the status of the investigations of at least eight murders [in Puerto Rico], one death without a determined cause, and several attacks in which LGBTTIQ people have been injured since January 2019.”

As investigations continue, we send our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

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.

NCAVP mourns the death of 28-year-old Alexa Ruiz in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

NCAVP mourns the death of 28-year-old Alexa Ruiz in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico whose life was tragically taken February 24, 2020.

According to many media reports, Alexa, also known as Neulisa Luciano, was known to many as a friendly, quiet woman living without shelter. After trying to use a women’s bathroom in a McDonald’s restaurant, someone called the police on Alexa. When questioned by the police, photographs of the encounter between Alexa and the police were circulated online and went viral.

It is believed by many that the viral photographs and police call made Alexa a target for the brutal violence that claimed her life hours later. We are deeply saddened by this loss and send our deepest condolences to her loved ones. We are also demanding justice for Alexa and all transgender women who have lost their lives to transphobic violence. Transgender women deserve safety, housing, and respect in day-to-day life.

On Monday, March 2, AVP will join Make the Road NY, the trans community, and allies to hold a vigil for Alexa Ruiz, and demand an end to trans violence. Join us at the corner of 83st and Roosevelt Ave at 6pm!

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.