It has happened again.
On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, the body of Brooklyn DeShauna Smith was discovered at 2:15 in the afternoon in a Shreveport, Louisiana apartment complex. Cause of death was gun shot. Brooklyn was a 20-year-old Black trans woman.
Brooklyn was born and raised in Shreveport. She studied cosmetology at Bossier Parish Community College and had worked as a call center agent. Her social media was full of positivity, good humor, and family support – the typical content you expect from a 20-year-old young woman. She was vibrant and eager to embrace what the world had to offer.
Brook had turned 20 on September 20, 2020. She celebrated with loved ones. Then this – shot and left to die.
Authorities urge anyone with any information about this homicide to call Shreveport police detectives at (318) 673-6955. Or call the Police Department at (318) 673-7300 and select option 3.
Brooklyn or Brook as she was known is the 32nd trans and gender nonconforming person murdered to date in 2020 in the United States. She is the 21st Black trans person and the 20th Black trans woman murdered. She is the 5th person from Louisiana, all of whom were Black trans women. She is one of 12 victims age 25 or younger and one of the four youngest total – Yampi Mendez Arocho was 19, Helle Jae O’Regan was also 20, and Brayla Stone was just 17.
I learned about Brooklyn’s death a few hours after learning that Black transgender activist and blogger, Monica Roberts, had died earlier this week. Perhaps Monica was there to comfort and welcome Brooklyn. I grieve that Monica is not here to help seek justice for a 20-year-old trans kid, and to be honest, to help guide me in the right direction in writing this post. I counted on Monica as a friend and colleague to shine a light for allies like me trying to do right by the victims of this epidemic. But this post is not about Monica nor would she want Brooklyn’s death to be overshadowed by her own. The assumption now is that Monica died of injuries related to being the victim of a hit and run in the parking lot of her apartment complex.
But I do think the fact that Brooklyn’s death has not been picked up by the queer media is tied to Monica’s death a few days earlier. She was the bellwether. And this is evidence that her death will have deep ramifications for the most vulnerable Black trans folks.
How does a 20-year-old end up dying alone in an apartment from a gunshot wound in the middle of the day? There is no way Monica would let that pass, especially being so close to her home turn in Houston, without calling for attention and resources. I’d have to do a deep dive into my archive, but I suspect the number of trans neighbors murdered in broad daylight is on the rise. That’s only possible in a society that doesn’t acknowledge the visibility and validity of trans folx, especially trans woman and especially Black trans women.
Rest in power, Brooklyn. You deserved a full adult life with all of the experiences and wonders so many of us take for granted. You deserved to explore the world, surrounded by your loved ones, and valued for simply being you. We will continue to say your name and push for justice. I hope you are wrapped in a big hug from your Aunt Moni and finding peace.
My list of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary neighbors who have lost their lives to violent deaths in the US during 2020.
Please do not cut and paste this list to share without a link to the post. Thank you.