Just moments after I blogged about the murder of Melvin in Detroit, I read about the murder of Kiesha Jenkins – a 22 year old trans woman of color in Philadelphia. Kiesha uses the name Tatted Godess Kesh on her Facebook profile where dozens of friends are posting tributes.
Kiesha Jenkins, 22, was shot and killed in North Philadelphia early Tuesday morning.
Homicide Capt. James Clark told PGN that Jenkins had just gotten out of a car at 13th and Wingohocking streets around 2:30 a.m. when five or six males approached and assaulted her.
“One man pulled out a gun and she was shot twice in the back,” Clark said.
Jenkins was transported to Einstein Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
An arrest has not yet been made.
If you have any information on the shooting, please call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-3334.
By my reckoning, Kiesha is the 21st transgender individual known to be murdered in the US this year. Some will say 20, others 22.
On May 18, the body of London Chanel was discovered in Philadelphia. She, too, had been murdered. London had moved to Pennsylvania from Texas.
We are going to say lots of things about this epidemic, but what has changed since the last reported murder in August? What have we funded? What laws have been proposed? What divisions has the HRC or other Gay Inc groups established? What have we donated to support local trans people? What are we doing?
This statement related to another death this week, a 30-year-old gay black man in Detroit, resonates with me.
“Because in this world, openly expressing your gender or sexual orientation in a way that mainstream society regularly demeans, discounts, and objectifies is revolutionary.”
Fixing broken systems isn’t doing enough. Existing is still revolutionary, particularly for those in the LGBTQ community who don’t have white cis privileges. Our resistance to make the necessary radical changes in our own systems and structures is a hideous reflection of how little we really value the most vulnerable among us. Our tears, our ripped garments and our anger isn’t driving change. It isn’t enough.
We must still engage in the revolutionary act of saying their names and demanding justice for their lives. We must ensure they are buried with dignity and authenticity. But we have to do something more to protect the living. This is a shared responsibility.
Please continue to say their names.
- Papi Edwards, 20, Louisville, January 9
- Lamia Beard, 30, Norfolk on January 17
- Ty Underwood, 24, Tyler TX on January 26
- Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, LA on January 31
- Taja de Jesus, 36, San Fran February 1
- Penny Proud, 21, New Orleans February 10
- Bri Golec, 22, Akron on February 13
- Kristina Grant Infiniti, 47, Miami on February 15
- Keyshia Blige, 33, Naperville IL on March 7
- London Chanel, 21, Philadelphia on May 18
- Mercedes Williamson, 17, Alabama on May 30
- Jasmine Collins, 32, Kansas City MO, June 23
- India Clarke, 25, Tampa on July 22
- K.C. Haggard, 66, Fresno on July 23
- Amber Monroe, 20, Detroit on August 8
- Ms. Shade Schuler, 22, Dallas, date of death unknown
- Ashton O’Hara, 25, Detroit, July 14
- Kandis Capri, 35, Phoenix, August 11
- Elisha Walker, 25, Smithfield NC, date of death unknown
- Tamara Dominguez, 36, Kansas City MO, August 17
- Kiesha Jenkins, 22, Philadelphia, October 6
Rest in power, Kiesha.