NCAVP mourns the death of Jaheim Pugh, also known as Bella Pugh and Jaheim Barbie, a 19-year-old Black gender non-conforming person in Prichard, AL. Jaheim was fatally shot on December 13.
Bella, according to friends and family, went by both he/him and she/her pronouns. Their Facebook page is flooded with support and grievances from friends and family, including folks sharing their own selfies noting Jaheim Barbie gave them the confidence to wear certain outfits, or live their best life. Parties are being hosted in her honor, and the hashtags #LLJaheim (Long Live Jaheim), #JusticeforJaheim, and #JaheimMattered frequently appear on her Facebook. Messages include “We love you Jaheim Pugh nothing will ever change that,” and “going into a year without you is nothing I’m gonna ever get use to.” According to Bella’s family, Bella was a fan of Nicki Minaj, and wanted to travel the world.
Jaheim’s family demands justice for their passing, emphasizing the fact that the attack was a hate crime – their mother says Jaheim was killed for wearing a rainbow jumpsuit, telling a local news outlet “They took somebody special because he wore a dress.” Jaheim’s family was very supportive of their gender expression, stating “I loved him with everything in me … that’s why he could shine like he did. Everything I had I poured into Jaheim.”
A suspect has turned themselves into the police, and is currently being charged for the crime.
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.