NCAVP mourns the death of Jahaira DeAlto Balenciaga, a legendary transgender activist and ballroom performer, who was murdered on May 2nd in Boston, MA.
A member of the House of Balenciaga, Jahaira was known for her success in walking in the category of realness in the late 90’s, as well as for her work in advocating for survivors of domestic abuse. On Facebook, Robert Harold Dinkins writes: “The House of Balenciaga regretfully acknowledges the death/murder of our own Jahaira M. DeAlto, a community advocate and friend to many. Let us not forget her ongoing work against domestic abuse and continue to uplift her name and ensure her memory lives on in this ironic twist of fate.” Several community members have taken to social media to revere Jahaira, including trans actress and recording artist Trace Lysette: “Rest in power sister Jahaira DeAlto Balenciaga 💔 she was the kindest sister, mother, aunty, friend. A ballroom legend. And we want justice.”
An activist since 1995, Jahaira’s work has brought her to the Ryan White Conference on HIV/AIDS at Harvard University, Columbia University’s School of Social Work, and the Berkshire’s first-ever Trans Day of Remembrance event, where she was the emcee and a featured speaker. She graduated from Berkshire Community College in 2019 for Human Services. She was also a successful vlogger on YouTube, where she had over 2,400 subscribers.
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.