Erykah Tijerina was 36 years old. Her sisters describe her as “funny, giving and unapologetic.” Sadly, she is also the latest transgender neighbor to die a violent death in the United States. Her Facebook posts are filled with love and family and hopefulness.
Erykah’s body was found Monday in her El Paso apartment complex. She was initially misgendered by the police & media both of which released her old name. Friends and family came forward to clarify. Police are still investigating the scene of her death as a homicide, but have released no information to the public.
Erykah’s family has set up a crowdfund page to help with her final expenses.
You know, this morning I asked someone privately on Facebook – someone I don’t know well, but consider an ally – why they were going to North Carolina for their summer vacation. It wasn’t an easy conversation, but the gist is that they paid a deposit and didn’t think one family divesting from the tourism industry in the state that passed a bathroom bill would have any real impact. I was very smart mouthed when I said that I wrote too many memorial posts for dead transgender women of color to agree. That was about six hours ago.
I wonder what Erykah and the other trans people murdered this year would say about vacation deposits? I wonder what their mothers think about people who work around bathroom bills to enjoy the ocean? I wonder a lot of things – what would these folks think if their adult child or sibling was misgendered in crime reports or if they had to set up a fundraiser to pay for a funeral?
If the onslaught of this horrible violence epidemic isn’t enough to turn the tide of legislation and rhetoric that demonizes our trans siblings, maybe we have to try harder with the economic impact? I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that we all have to listen with more open minds and open hearts to the experiencs and leadership of our neighbors – especially trans women of color.
So you don’t give up your deposit, what do you do? What do you do? How do you invest in trans women of color?
Rest in power, Erykah. May your spirit find peace and may we continue to seek justice for your name.
Please take a few moments to read each of these names. Say them, alour or to yourself. Remind yourself that these are not philosophical conversations. These are real human beings, some from Pennsylvania and some from as near as Cleveland. I learned that Erykah and I have two friends in common which made me weep.
So we don’t forget those whom we’ve lost to these epidemics in 2016.
- Monica Loera – Austin, Texas (January 22)
- Jasmine Sierra – Bakersfield, California (January 22)
- Kayden Clarke – Mesa, Arizona (February 4)
- Maya Young – Philadelphia (February 20)
- Suspicious death of Veronica Cano – San Antonio (February 20)
- Demarkis Stansberry – Baton Rouge (February 27)
- Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson – Burlington, Iowa (March 2)
- Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum (Kourtney Yochum) – Los Angeles (March 22)
- Shante Thompson – Houston (April 9)
- Keyonna Monroe Blackeney – Rockville, MD (April 16)
- Reecey Walker – Wichita (May 1)
- Mercedes Successful – Haines City, FL (May 15)
- Amos Beede (Burrlington, VT), 38 years old
- Goddess Diamond (New Orleans, LA), 20 years old
- Dee Dee Dodds (Washington D.C.), 22 years old
- Dee Whigham (Biloxi, Mississippi), 25 years old
- Skye Mockabee – Cleveland (July 30) 26 years old
- Erykah Tijerina – El Paso (August 8) 36 years old