NCAVP mourns the death of Ashley Moore, a 26-year-old Black transgender woman in Newark, NJ

NCAVP mourns the death of Ashley Moore, a 26-year-old Black trans woman found dead outside the YMCA in Newark, NJ on April 1. The Newark Police Department did not make any attempt to contact her family, and ruled the death a suicide, claiming Ashley either jumped from the roof or was hit by a car, despite strangulation marks on her neck. A witness reported seeing Ashley run out of her room and downstairs that night at 3:47 am, ruling out the former, and camera footage confirmed there were no vehicles nearby at the time of her death that could have struck her. Moore was cremated before an autopsy was conducted, and a death certificate has not been issued, even 4 months after her passing. Both the police report and obituary misgendered and deadnamed Ashley. Due to pushback by Ashley’s mother Starlet Carbin and advocates, an investigation has finally been opened by the police department in connection with the county’s Homicide Task Force.

“Ashley loved people” said her mother in a phone call with NJ Advanced Media. She had a passion for writing, an enthusiasm that was sparked after she read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a child, she also worked as chef at One World Trade Center. She had a younger brother, Elijah, and “always led with connection.”

Sadly, negative response from law enforcement is not exclusive to Ashley’s death – in 2018 a video she posted on Instagram chronicled an experience she had with the Newark Police Department in which they refused to file a police report after she was mugged, instead calling her a homophobic slur upon discovering she was a trans woman.

The demand for justice for Ashley is due largely in part to efforts by the Newark LGBT Community Center, and its founder Beatrice Simpkins. The org has arranged a website where supporters can learn more about the case and contribute to the fund set up to create a legal retainer, hire a lawyer, and push for an investigation.

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.