Poe Black, a 21-year-old transgender non-binary person, was stabbed to death in California, Niland, in March.
Black was believed to be trans masculine, non-binary and a member of the Wyandotte Nation and was “mixed Indigenous”, according to PGH Lesbian. He also used the names Oliver Jackson and Legion.
Black’s tragic death is at least the 28th death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021. These stats are typically guidance as the number of transgender or gender non-conforming person missing are not fully reported.
The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office reported the news of Black’s death, on Facebook, stating a body was found and recovered from the Coachella Canal near Slab City, Niland, California, on May 11.
The death of Black was ruled as a homicide and the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office have called for anyone with information to come forward.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA, an advocacy group dedicated to helping missing and murdered American Indian women and their families, shared a post calling for support following Black’s murder.
“Oliver Jackson, also known by the names Poe Black, Legion or as Tommi by his family, was a transgender, two-spirit relative. He was 21 years old and originally grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. He was murdered in Southern California sometime during the month of May,” the post read.
“During his life he had suffered so much for the causes of justice for native people, for black people, for LGBT people, and anyone who needed to be stood up for. He was truly loved and he truly loved people. He was a warrior.”
Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative commented on Black’s death.
“In May alone, we now know of the deaths of at least nine transgender or gender non-conforming people. This violence is staggering, and if it continues, we will record more cases of fatal violence against trans and gender non-conforming people this year than any prior year,” Cooper wrote.
“As we continue to see unprecedented levels of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people, everyone must speak out in support of trans lives.”
Earlier in May, 35-year-old Thomas Hardin was found dead in his apartment. Hardin’s tragic death is believed to be tied to a string of murders perpetrated by 26-year-old Tyler Terry.
South Carolina news outlet WIS news reported Terry attacked victims on May 2 from South Carolina to St. Louis.
One of these targets was Hardin who was found in his York home on May 2. It is believed Harden identified as a woman but did not have a preferred pronoun, according to WIS news.
“He would say he or she. Thomas didn’t care. When I’m talking to him, sometimes I’m saying he, sometimes I’m saying she. He did not care,” Hardin’s friend told the local news.
Hardin’s friend, Chimere Hicks, told WIS news he knew something unusual has occurred once they spotted the 35-year-old’s car parked outside and noticed an unlocked door.
“We knew something was wrong then and we [she and Hardin’s cousin] both started crying,” Hicks said. “I think the police made a comment like ‘oh my gosh’ when he went in. And we knew then.”
Police showed up at Hardin’s home on Lowry Row that evening and Hardin was found motionless on the floor.
While the death of Hardin is yet to be determined, it is believed she was shot and murdered.
Two suspects have since been taken into custody after a week-long search on March 24.