On April 16, 2016, Goddess Keyonna Blakeney, a 22-year-old Black trans woman, was brutally murdered in Maryland. Blakeney is the second Black trans woman murdered in the DMV in the past six months. The following is a press release from Goddess Lourdes Ashley Hunter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2016
Tonight we light a candle for Keyonna Blakeney a 22, year old Black trans woman who was brutally murdered Saturday, April 16th 2016 at a Red Roof Inn in Rockville, Maryland. Early reports by Fox News inflicts further violence by using her birth name as [NBC] News joins in by engaging in speculative banter implicating her involvement in sex work and mentioning open criminal cases. We acknowledge the attempts to discredit her existence as a human and cast doubt over her right to life. No one deserves to be murdered just because they are transgender. Blakeney is the 9th trans person murdered this year in the U.S. and the second Black trans woman murdered in the DMV area in the past 6 months.
21 year old Zella Ziona; surrounded by 4 men, was gunned down last year October 15th, 2015 in broad day light in Gaithersburg, Maryland as she went to lay flowers at her grandmothers grave to honor the anniversary of her passing.
Trans and gender non-conforming people are under siege. The heinous violence we are seeing is inextricably linked to the lack of access to resources, jobs, education and housing that places many in our community in precarious environments. These murders hit close to home for our family at Casa Ruby LGBT Center and Trans Women of Color Collective both based in Washington D.C. Every day we work tirelessly to create affirming and safer spaces for LGBTQ youth to see themselves, celebrated and loved. We must raise our voices against the senseless brutal violence trans youth are facing everyday simply for living in their truth.
Our communities must come together and be intentional in creating pipelines and pathways for trans youth to thrive and we must hold perpetrators of violence accountable. Now is the time to shift the narrative in our communities.