NCAVP mourns the death of Fifty Bandz, a 21-year-old Black trans woman in Baton Rouge, LA

NCAVP mourns the death of Fifty Bandz, a 21-year-old Black trans woman who was fatally shot by her former partner Michael Josuha Brooks on January 28 in Baton Rouge, LA. He is currently being charged with second degree murder. 

Several orgs have spoken out on the death of Fifty, noting the prevalence of both gun violence and intimate partner violence against trans people, especially Black trans women. “Fifty Bandz should be alive today,” said a volunteer with The Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action in the joint statement released by MDA and Students Demand Action – both members of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network. “Black trans women are shot and killed at alarming rates. Black trans lives matter and it’s past time lawmakers to start acting like it.”

On February 1st, friends, family, and loved ones gathered to release white balloons in her honor. Many are mourning the loss of Fifty on social media, posting comments of broken hearts and RIP on her Instagram. “50 please let this be a joke,” writes one user, “my favorite person on here 🥺 rip! 💔” writes another. According to her page, Fifty enjoyed going out dancing, fashion, and often got her hair done by her stylist @dornelll, whom she tags often in her photos – going so far as even crediting him in her bio.

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.