Her name was Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears. She was 34 years old when she was stabbed to death while attending a vigil in Portland on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.
According to police, Rhone-Spears was in attendance at the vigil near the 15800 block of Southeast Division which later moved to a home in the 100 block of Northeast 92nd Place. There were 20 to 30 people in the residence when a “large disturbance occurred involving multiple participants” according to a statement from police. Rhone-Spears and one other person was stabbed during the altercation.Despite live-saving measures taken by officers and medical personnel, Rhone-Spears was declared dead at the scene. The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Officer later determined the cause of death was homicide by stabbing.
Aja was at a vigil mourning the shooting death of Tyrrell Penney and didn’t survive. She went to s vigil for another Black person in Portland and died herself. What the hell?
Some reports list Aja’s age as 32, some 34. I’m using her high school graduation date to go with 34, but I will correct if more information becomes available.
She studied at UNLV, followed multiple television series, and had a whole host of family members and friends who desperately miss her. She had a vibrant life and that life mattered.
Aja’s family has set up a crowdfund to help with final expenses.
Police have not identified leads as of yet. How does someone crash a vigil, start a fight, stab two people seemingly at random, and the police can’t produce leads?
Aja is the 26th person to be added to my list. She is the 14th Black trans woman. I am writing memorial posts for two other individuals. That’s nearly 30 trans and gender non-conforming or nonbinary neighbors who have died violent deaths so far. We still have five months to go.
Rest in power, Aja. Your final hours remind us that we must continue to do the right thing by each other and resist those who wish any of us harm. You deserved life filled with more joy, more laughter, and more respect. I am sorry that was denied you.
My list of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary neighbors who have lost their lives to violent deaths in the US during 2020.
- Dustin Parker – McAlester, Oklahoma. January 1, 2020. Age 25.
- Alexa Negron Luciano – Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. February 24, 2020. Age 29.
- Yampi Mendez Arocho – Moca, Puerto Rico, March 5, 2020. Age 19.
- Monica Diamond – Charlotte, North Carolina. March 18, 2020. Age 34.
- Lexi – Harlem, New York City, New York. March 28, 2020. Age 33.
- Johanna Metzger – Baltimore, Maryland. April 1, 2020. Age 25.
- Serena Angelique Velazquezz – Puerto Rico. April 22, 2020. Age 32.
- Layla Pelaez – Puerto Rico. April 22, 2020. Age 21.
- Penélope Díaz Ramírez – Puerto Rico. April 13, 2020. Age 31
- Nina Pop – Sikeston, Missouri. May 3, 2020. Age 28.
- Helle Jae O’Regan – San Antonio, Texas. May 6, 2020. Age 20.
- Tony McDade – Tallahassee, Florida. May 27, 2020. Age 38.
- Dominique Rem’mie Fells – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. June 8, 2020. Age 27.
- Riah Milton – Liberty Township, Ohio. June 9, 2020. Age 25.
- Selena Reyes Hernandez – Chicago. May 31, 2020. Age 37.
- Brayla Stone – Sherwood, Arkansas. June 25, 2020. Age 17.
- Merci Mack – Dallas, June 30, 2020. Age 22.
- Jayne Thompson – Colorado, May 2020. Age 33.
- Bree Black – Pompana Beach, Florida, July 3, 2020. Age 27.
- Draya McCarty – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 2020. Age unknown.
- Shaki Peters – Amite, Louisiana, July 1, 2020. Age 32.
- Marilyn Cazares – Brawley, California, July 13, 2020. Age 22.
- Tatiana Hall – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, approx June 29, 2020. Age 22.
- Queasha Hardy – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 27, 2020. Age 24.
- Tiffany Harris – Bronx, New York, July 26, 2020. Age 32.
- Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears – Portland, Oregon, July 28, 2020. Age 32.