“This level of violence is staggering, and it cannot continue.”
Aerrion Burnett, a Black trans woman, was fatally shot in Independence, Missouri, on 19 September.
Family and friends of Burnett, who was 37-years-old when she passed, held a vigil the day after her death and released balloons in honour of her memory.
Her close friend, Korea Kelly, described her as a “goddess” while another said she was always the “life of the party”. Kelly added: “If you wanted to have a good day, you need to smile, Aerrion was the person you wanted by your side.”
Burnett’s family also demanded justice for her murder, with her cousin telling reporters: “Enough is enough. Stop taking our lives. Lives matter. You can’t get them back, and it hurts so many people.”
Burnett is the 27th known trans individual killed in the United States this year.
Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement: “Black transgender women are being killed at horrifying rates in this country. HRC has already seen as many violent deaths of trans and gender non-conforming people this year as we tracked all of last year.
“This level of violence is staggering, and it cannot continue. We need everyone — from community organizers to those in the highest levels of our government — to take action to end this epidemic of violence.
“I and everyone in the trans community are mourning Aerrion’s death. As we remember her, we continue to call for justice for all trans and gender non-conforming people.”
Since the murder of George Floyd on 25 May and the subsequent protests in the United States for the Black Lives Matter movement, there’s been numerous demonstrations in support of the Black transgender community.
LGBTQ+ organisations later called for the movement to do more for murdered Black trans women, who face disproportionate levels of discrimination and violence when compared to other members of the queer community.
“I don’t think that anybody would say that there’s been enough attention focused on and around trans people and the state of violence they live in,” said Cooper. “I think it is a weakness of the Black Lives Matter movement. We only speak out when Black men are being harmed or murdered.”