Shantee Tucker had just celebrated her 31st birthday earlier this week on September 2. Today, we mourn her untimely death shot in the back in Philadelphia, making her the 19th trans neighbor whose violent death we report on this year.
According to a police report, at 1:05 a.m. on Wednesday morning officers responded to a shooting at 4300 Old York Road. Upon arrival, officers found a victim on the highway suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. The victim was taken to Temple Hospital.
[A] preliminary investigation revealed that Tucker had a brief argument with an unknown person or persons inside a black Ford pickup truck, and that person or persons began shooting at the victim. The truck was an older model with bonding on it, tinted windows, and no tailgate. If you have information on the suspect, contact the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334.
Shantee is the 3rd Black trans woman murdered in the past seven days. 2018 is on track to be as deadly or worse than 2017; last year at this time, we acknowledged the murder of the 19th victim of this epidemic for that year.
According to her Facebook profile, she was a Philadelphia native and a member of the House of Ebony. She was bisexual. Reports state she was 30 at the time of her death, but according to her profile she had just turned 31. Her friends, family, and Philadelphia neighbors are devastated.
I’m often asked “What can we do?” and I redirect people to the many Black trans women who actually have answers and plans and programs in place. That’s what you can do – pay attention and use your Google to find resources led by Black trans women in your community. Then invest your time and talent. And your money. For more suggestions, read this post.
Shantee lived and died in my home state of Pennsylvania. There are no hate crimes protections under state law. There are no nondiscrimination protections under state law. Our state government has never passed anything promoting the welfare, safety & value of the trans community or the LGBTQ community writ large. Our school districts are wrestling with seemingly simple matters like bathroom safety while our entire state grapples with the realities of racial injustice and white supremacy. We talk about these things, but I don’t see much in the way of taking action.
As recently as early August, Governor Tom Wolf and MANY leading white cisgender LGBTQ activists established a statewide advisory committee withOUT any Black transgender members. 40 people in our community and allied to our community failed to either notice or mention this oversight. It was corrected a few days later with the expansion of the committee. But not a single person on that committee whom I’ve approached has been able to explain why they didn’t ask about representation or taken any public steps to own their mistakes. I guess they are too worried about Governor Wolf’s reelection campaign. I hope some of them have the decency and humility to speak out now and connect the dots.
That is what progressive white cisgender lesbians and gay men and our allies are doing in Pennsylvania. If we can’t hold ourselves accountable, stop shedding crocodile tears about the deaths of our trans neighbors. Better yet, do something even if it means losing some status or progressive street cred with the Governor. Shame on all of us.
Shantee, rest in power. Your life had a huge impact on so many people who deeply mourn your death. You deserved many more years to blaze in glory. I am so so sorry that you died this way and died at this time. We will continue to hold ourselves and the community accountable for creating more resources for Black trans women.
This is my list of trans neighbors we have lost to violent deaths in the US this year. These are the reported names; there are surely more.
- Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien – Massachusetts (January 6) 42 years old
- Viccky Gutierrez – Los Angeles (January 9), 33 years old
- Tonya ‘Kita’ Harvey – Buffalo (February 6), 35 years old
- Celine Walker – Jacksonville, Florida (February 4), 36 years old
- Phylicia Mitchell – Cleveland (February 23), 46 years old
- Zakaria Fry – Stanley, New Mexico (February 19), 28 years old
- Amia Tyrae Berryman – Baton Rouge (March 26), 28 years old
- Sasha Wall – Chesterfield, South Carolina (April 1), 29 years old
- Karla Patricia Pavon-Flores – Dallas (May 9), 26 years old
- Nino Fortson – Atlanta (May 13), 36 yeas old
- Gigi Pierce – Portland (May 21), 28 years old
- Antash’a English – Jacksonville (June 1), 38 years old
- Cathalina Christina James – Jacksonville (June 24), 24 years old
- Keisha Wells – Cleveland (June 24), 58 years old
- Sasha Garden – Orange County, Florida (July 19), 27 years old
- Diamond Stephens – Meridian, Mississippi (June 18) 39 years old
- Dejanay Stanton – Chicago (August 30) 24 years old
- Vontashia Bell – Shreveport (August 30) 18 years old
- Shantee Tucker – Philadelphia (September 5) 31 years old