NCAVP mourns the death of Aerrion Burnett, a 37-year-old Black transgender woman in Independence, MO

NCAVP mourns the death of Aerrion Burnett, a 37-year-old Black transgender woman who was fatally shot in Independence, MO in the early morning of September 19th. Family members believe she was a victim of anti-trans hate violence, but are awaiting further details.

Aerrion passed the day before her 38th birthday, and her friends and family honored her life with a balloon release the following day. They reportedly were planning to throw Aerrion a surprise party.

At the vigil, Korea Kelly, who knew Aerrion sang her praises. “Aerrion was a Barbie,” said Korea Kelly. “She was a goddess. … If you wanted to have a good day, you need to smile, Aerrion was the person you wanted by your side.”

Aerrion had a best friend Darnell “Dee Dee” Pearson who also died to hate violence in 2011.“As a friend, and both of those are my friends who both got killed the same way, and being a black trans woman myself, that hurts like hell,” Kelly said.

On the murder, Aerrion’s cousin stated: “It’s about time to stop the crime and stop the murders. Stop taking our lives. Lives matter.”

Police ask anyone with information to contact the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

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.