NCAVP mourns the homicide of Candace Towns in Macon, GA

NCAVP mourns the death of Candace Towns, a Black transgender woman killed in Macon, GA, on October 31, 2017. Candace Towns is at least the 26th transgender and gender-nonconforming person killed in 2017. According to media reports, Towns was found fatally shot after being reported missing earlier that weekend. Police are investigating her death as a homicide, though the investigation is still in its early stages. Media reports initially misgendered and dead-named Towns.

We mourn the loss of Candace Towns, and send love and care to her friends and loved ones. “If I needed anything she would give it to me. She would give me the clothes off her back,” said Malaysa Monroe, remembering Candace’s kindness and generosity.

In memory of Candace Towns.

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. Read the full list here.

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.

NCAVP mourns the homicide of Elizabeth Stephanie Montez in Corpus Christi, TX

NCAVP mourns the death of Elizabeth Stephanie Montez, a transgender Latinx woman, killed in Corpus Christi, Texas, on October 21, 2017. According to media reports, 47-year-old Montez, who is at least the 25th transgender and gender-nonconforming person killed in 2017, had been fatally shot multiple times, and police are investigating her death as a homicide, though the investigation is still in its early stages. Media reports initially misgendered and dead-named Montez.

We mourn the loss of Elizabeth Stephanie Montez, who was a beloved performer, dancer, and friend. She is remembered in a loving obituary as “One of the most beautiful, kind, gentle, and loving human beings we have ever known. She was never afraid or ashamed to be true to herself or anyone else. She was the sweetest most kind, most courageous, most selfless person that would give the shirt off her back to anyone in need and most often did.” We must work to ensure that our LGBT elders, especially transgender and gender non-conforming elders, are uplifted and supported at all points in their lives.

Local organization, PFLAG Corpus Christi, is organizing a transgender rights rally on Saturday, November 4. Said PFLAG Corpus Christi President Kathy Huff: “We are calling for not only an end to the violence against trans women, but also for gender identity to be added to the hate crime laws in Texas, as well as within anti-discrimination laws along with sexual orientation.” The rally calls for justice for the transgender community, for action on a local level, and for equality.

In memory of Elizabeth Stephanie Montez.

For more information about the upcoming rally and PFLAG Corpus Christi, visit https://www.facebook.com/pflagcct.

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.

NCAVP mourns the intimate partner violence homicide of Ariel Gonzalez in Broward County, FL

NCAVP mourns the death of Ariel Gonzalez, who was found dead in his apartment on September 13, 2017, following Hurricane Irma. According to media reports, 50-year-old Gonzalez was brutally murdered on September 10th, by Travis Watson and Jacob Mitchell, after Gonzalez had invited the couple into his home to hook up. Though little is known about the motive of the killing, robbery and jealousy were two factors, according to media reports. Watson is currently in custody, and police are searching for Mitchell.

We mourn the loss of Ariel Gonzalez, and send love and care to his friends and loved ones. Though not often discussed, gay and bisexual men experience intimate partner violence at similar if not higher rates as men who identify as heterosexual. As a community, and as a society, we must talk about LGBTQ IPV before it escalates, and raise up the experiences of queer, gay, bisexual and transgender men who are often left out of the conversations about this violence. We must also talk about hook-up violence, a form of violence that we need to address in our LGBTQ communities. So far in 2017 we have seen an increase in pick-up homicides, and we need awareness raising about this form of violence, affirming messages around sex, sexuality and safety, and safe spaces for our communities to meet and hook up.

In memory of Ariel Gonzalez.

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.

NCAVP mourns the homicide of Jaylow Mcglory in Alexandria, LA

NCAVP mourns the death of Jaylow Mcglory, a Black transgender woman, who was killed on August 4, 2017. According to media reports, 29-year-old Jaylow had been fatally shot multiple times, and police are investigating her death as a homicide. A suspect, 20-year-old Desmond Harris, has been charged with second-degree murder. Early media reports initially misgendered Jaylow, and little information is available about the circumstances of her death.

We mourn the loss of Jaylow Mcglory, and send love and care to her friends and loved ones. “All of us need to be working to keep transgender people safe in our communities, and to support our trans friends and family members as they grieve and heal,” said LaLa Zannell, Lead Organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

In memory of Jaylow Mcglory.

If you are in the Louisiana area, NCAVP member organization BreakOUT! is available as a resource to you. Call (504) 522-5435 or visit www.youthbreakout.org for more information.

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.

NCAVP mourns the police violence homicide of Scout Schultz in Atlanta, GA

NCAVP mourns the death of Scout Schultz, who was shot and killed on September 16th, 2017 by Georgia Tech Campus Police in Atlanta, Georgia. According to press reports, Schultz was in emotional distress when they walked toward police carrying a knife before they were shot. It has been reported that Schultz identified as nonbinary, bisexual, and intersex, used they/them pronouns, and was the president of Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance. Protests were held on the Georgia Tech campus following Schultz’s death.

We mourn the loss of Scout Schultz, and send love and care to their friends and loved ones. Schultz’s family spoke out, sharing that they had a history of emotional and mental health issues and had attempted to self-harm in the past. Georgia Tech Campus Police responded with deadly force, which Schultz’s family has said they do not believe was necessary and plan to bring a civil rights lawsuit.

Each year, NCAVP records homicides where police use excessive force against our communities, especially transgender and gender non-conforming people and LGBTQ people of color. We join so many in our communities demanding justice and accountability for Scout Schultz’s homicide at the hands of the police, and calling for increased competency by police in responding to individuals who are manifesting signs and symptoms of mental illness.

In memory of Scout Schultz.

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.

One Month after Charlottesville: A Call to LGBTQ White Folks to Step Up!

by Catherine Shugrue dos Santos, MSW
Co-Director of Client Services at AVP

One month ago today, Nazis and white supremacists inflicted pain and violence in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, and we simply can’t afford to let our feelings of disgust and outrage fade. If we, as white people, do not stand up, step up, and actively fight each and every effort by hate groups and the government to roll back the rights of people of color, we are not truly fighting for LGBTQ equality.

White supremacy reinforces and engenders all oppression—patriarchy, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, anti-immigrant bias, anti-HIV bias, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, classism, ableism, and hatred in all forms. As white queer and trans folks, we must recognize that this violent extremism does not represent anything new, and that the real danger to our nation is not only white cisgender straight men marching with torches through the streets. The real danger here is our collective white silence, and the tendency for us who sit in our power and privilege on the sidelines.

I am not proud when I catch myself still feeling shocked and surprised in moments while scrolling through my newsfeed – because I realize that moment of surprise is all about my privilege. I would love to think that the world really is getting better, that the election of President Trump is an unfortunate period in our history that will pass, even if I do nothing. At first, I was hurt when people of color whom I love and work alongside every day told me they were not surprised when Trump won, and even seemed impatient with how heartbroken I felt.  Because I wasn’t directly impacted by racism and white supremacy as a white person, I could believe we were on our way to better times.

As a social worker, and a queer anti-violence advocate, I knew we were not done. I never believed we were in a post-racial society, or that President Obama singlehandedly ended racism by being elected. I knew that the same Supreme Court who struck down DOMA also dismantled the Voting Rights Act, and that we had much more to do.  But was I ready for the return of emboldened white supremacists marching through an American town?  Even with all the work I have done, I wasn’t prepared—and that is on me.

As white people, we must challenge racism and white supremacy everywhere we see it rear its ugly head. We must stop the conversations about “all sides,” and “all lives matter,” in their tracks. We must stand up for what is right. We must denounce white supremacy in all its forms. We must fight to give up the privilege we have which we do not deserve, and did nothing to earn. We must do this because for all of us to thrive, we must create and live in a world where racism is not allowed to flourish, but is eradicated.

I believe we can work together, that we must do so, because as Ella Watkins says, our liberation really is bound together. As queer white folks who experience homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia every day, we have to realize that we are all in danger from white supremacy and racism.  We must use our white privilege to fight oppression and injustice, as aspiring allies to communities of color, and particularly to our own queer and trans communities of color.  If we do that, I believe it is possible for us to reach the America I was taught existed, where everyone is valued and free.  As Langston Hughes said:

O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath—

America will be!

#DefendDACA

The AVP Action Brief tracks actions of the Trump administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice.

We are here for you and we are in this together.

 #DefendDACA

 Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), arguing that it was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch of the previous administration. In 2012, after Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act, President Obama initiated DACA through an executive order, allowing some young undocumented immigrants brought over when they were children to apply for a two-year commitment of “deferred action” on deportations from the federal government. Since that time, DACA has protected 800,000 young adult undocumented immigrants from deportation and has allowed them to work legally. Most DACA recipients have spent the vast majority of their lives in the US, and this is the only home that they have known.

This heartless move by the Trump administration puts already vulnerable people – including at least 36,000 LGBT DACA recipients nationwide – at risk of deportation, losing their jobs, and violence. During the “wind down period” announced today, we ask that our supporters pressure Congress to act and to take to the streets to show your support for defending DACA. About 30,000 of at-risk DACA recipients live here in New York City. Should you need legal advice or assistance, AVP’s Legal team is here to help. If you are concerned or frightened or just need to talk, you can call our 24 hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline to talk with a counselor. We are here for you and we are here for one another.

Here’s what you can do.

Immigration resources

  • Trans and gender nonconforming DACA recipients can contact the Transgender Law Center’s Trans Immigrant Defense Effort to explore other forms of immigration relief.
  • Immigration Equality has a DACA FAQ for folks who might be affected.
  • You can also reach out to AVP’s Legal team through our hotline 212-714-1141 for assistance.

 

#DefendDACA activism and advocacy

 

Join AVP in working to end all forms of violence

  • Report violence you experience or witness to AVP and Communities Against Hate.
  • If you know someone who is an LGBTQ survivor of violence who is experiencing trauma or fear as a result of these recent actions, encourage them to contact AVP’s confidential 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141. They will be connected with a counselor who understands the ways this political climate is affecting our communities.
  • Get involved—volunteer with AVP!
  • Support AVP: Give now to ensure our voices are heard.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.

 

Further reading:

The Guardian – Trump ends ‘Dreamers’ program, leaving fate of 800,000 uncertain
Autostraddle – LGBT Immigrants Brace Themselves for DACA’s Devastating End
Vox – 9 facts that explain DACA, the immigration program Trump is threatening to end
National Immigration Law Center – Top 5 Things to Know About the Announcement That DACA Is Being Ended

NCAVP mourns the hate violence homicide of Juan Javier Cruz in Lake Worth, FL

NCAVP mourns the death of Juan Javier Cruz, who was fatally shot after defending his group of friends against homophobic slurs on August 6. According to media reports, Cruz, who was 22 years old, and a group of friends were leaving a restaurant and were followed by 48-year-old Nelson Hernandez Mena, who called out the group homophobic slurs and threatened them with physical violence before shooting Cruz, who had defended his friends. Mena has been charged with Cruz’s murder.

We mourn the loss of Juan Javier Cruz, who in defending the lived experiences of himself and his friends lost his own life to fatal violence. Toxic masculinity and patriarchy affects LGBTQ immigrants and communities of color in multiple, intersecting ways, and it is only by addressing these systems of oppression that we can work to end hate violence in our communities. We send love and care to those friends of Juan’s whom he defended, and to his friends and loved ones.

Though we ask our allies and community members to pledge #IWillNotStandBy when witnessing violence on public transportation or on the street, we also know that it can be very dangerous to intervene, and that every incident of violence is different. Never put your own safety at risk, and be sure to assess the situation before intervening. Visit #IWillNotStandBy to learn tips on bystander intervention.

In memory of Juan Javier Cruz.

NCAVP mourns the intimate partner violence homicide of Felicia Dormans in Mount Holly, NJ.

NCAVP mourns the death of Felicia Dormans, who was fatally shot by her wife, Laura Bluestein, on August 6, according to media reports. As of now, little is known about the motive of the shooting. Bluestein has been charged with Felicia’s murder and was taken into custody.

We mourn the loss of Felicia Dormans, who is the 9th LGTBQ victim of fatal intimate partner violence NCAVP has counted this year, and send love and care to her friends and loved ones. Though not often talked about, intimate partner violence (IPV) affects lesbian, bisexual, and gay people at the same or higher rates than non-LGB people. And yet, LGBTQ people continue to experience discrimination and violence when accessing care and support around relationship violence.

Working together to support each other as a community, and helping support those who might be in abusive relationships, is crucial to helping prevent intimate partner violence before it escalates. And in doing so, we must also work to enrich our narratives and models of what healthy, loving LGBTQ relationships look like, and support each other in understanding and learning that we are all deserving of love, as a community and as individuals.

In memory of Felicia Dormans.

NCAVP mourns the hate violence homicide of TeeTee Dangerfield in College Park, GA

NCAVP mourns the death of TeeTee Dangerfield, a Black transgender woman, who was fatally shot while parked in her vehicle on the morning of July 31, according to media reports. No suspect and no motive have been reported in her homicide, though College Park police are pursuing leads.

We mourn the loss of TeeTee Dangerfield, who was described by her cousin as “just an all-around beautiful person” and “an amazing soul,” and who is the 16th transgender woman of color and the 13th Black transgender woman we have lost to fatal violence this year. We see again and again that black transgender women are disproportionately and overwhelmingly affected by hate violence, and that this violence is all too often fatal. This cannot go on. We call upon our communities of many identities- LGBTQ, Black, of color- to embrace our transgender sisters and support each other through economic empowerment and narratives of strength and love.

We send love and care to the friends and loved ones of TeeTee Dangerfield. To support TeeTee’s family with burial and funeral costs, please visit their fundraiser here.

In memory of TeeTee Dangerfield.