On Saturday, May 1, 49-year-old Keri Washington became the latest trans victim of fatal violence. Washington was found dead Saturday morning in back of an apartment building in Clearwater, Florida. Officers responded to Palmetto Park Apartments on West Avenue shortly after 8 a.m. on Saturday. Police have not released many details about her death, but have identified and issued a warrant for a suspect, Arthur Benjamin Jr., also known as Hadeeka Shabazz. He “has an extensive criminal history and was known to the victim,” says a Facebook post from the Clearwater Police Department. The department asks for anyone who knows his whereabouts to call (727) 562-4242.
I have not yet found many details about Keri, a challenge given the media misspelling her first name and misgendering Keri. But I’ve learned that she was known as BOBO by some friends and that she was a caretaker for her mother. Keri celebrated her birthday on April 23. Her social media feeds are wry, funny, introspective, and affectionate. She referred to herself as “THE QUEEN OF SLAY” on her social media accounts. In early April, she chastised people for reporting on her premature death, a haunting post that makes me wonder what was happening in her world.
At least four transgender women of color were killed in the past 10 days, as anti-trans violence continues to rise amid a legislative assault on the community’s right to exist, via Them.
Keri is the twenty third trans, nonbinary or gender nonconforming person reported killed in 2021. Twenty-one of these neighbors have been BIPOC. She is the 17th victim who identified as Black. In total, there have been twenty-three murders or suspicious deaths in the first 122 days of 2021, an average of one death every 5.3 days. 16 of these victims were under the age of 30. So far. That we know of as many deaths go unreported or unacknowledged. Note – in this summary, I include suspicious deaths that as you can read below are often later confirmed homicides.
Rest in power, Keri. You did right by your mother and seized life’s little moments with unabashed joy and humor. I fervently hope your family will honor your true identity in your final arrangements, but know that you are not forgotten by your community.
May your memory be a revolution.
Our list of transgender, gender-nonconforming, and non-binary neighbors lost to violence in 2021. Please do not copy or share this list without attribution.
- Tyianna Davarea Alexandra – Chicago, Illinois. January 6, 2021. Age 28.
- Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín – Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. January 9, 2021. Age 21.
- Dominique Jackson – Jackson, Mississippi. January 25, 2021. Age 30.
- Bianca ‘Muffin’ Bankz – Atlanta, Georgia. January 21, 2021. Age 31.
- Fifty Bandzzz – Baton Rouge, Louisiana. January 28, 2021. Age 21.
- Alexus “Kimmy” Braxton – Miami, Florida. February 4, 2021. Age 45.
- Chynaa Carrillo – New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. February 18, 2021. Age 24.
- Jeffrey ‘JJ’ Bright – Ambridge, Pennsylvania. February 22, 2021. Age 16.
- Jasmine Cannady – Ambridge, Pennsylvania. February 22, 2021. Age 22.
- Jenna Franks – Jacksonville, North Carolina, February 24, 2021. Age 34. **
- Diamond Nicole ‘Kyree’ Sanders – Cincinnati, Ohio. March 3, 2021. Age 23.
- Rayanna Pardo – Los Angeles, California, March 17, 2021. Age 26. ***
- Aidelen Evans – Port Arthur, Texas, March 2021. Age 24 ****
- Dominique Lucious – Springfield, Missouri, April 8, 2021. Age 26.
- Jaida Peterson – Charlotte, North Carolina, April 4, 2021. Age 29.
- Remy Fennell – Charlotte, North Carolina, April 15, 2021. Age 28.
- Tiara Banks – Chicago, Illinois, April 21, 2021. Age 26.
- Natalia Smüt Lopez – San Jose, California, April 23, 2021. Age 24.
- Tiffany Thomas – Dallas, Texas, April 21, 2021. Age 38.
- Iris Santos – Houston, Texas, April 23, 2021. Age 22.
- Jahaira M. DeAlto – Boston, Massachusetts, May 2, 2021. Age 42.
- Keri Washington – Clearwater, Florida, May 1, 2021. Age 49.
** Jenna’s death was originally reported as suspicious, but has since been reported as a homicide. *** Rayanna’s cause of death was originally undetermined, but has since been reported as a homicide. **** Aidelen’s cause of death was unspecified, but has since been reported as a homicide
We are also still monitoring these suspicious deaths from 20/21 (in addition to the 44 documented killings.)
- 1Fendi Mon’ezah Armstrong – Lithonia, Georgia, November 11, 2020. Age 39
- Kimberely Patricia Cope – Athens, Georgia, December 27, 2020. Age 40.
- Natasha Keianna – Detroit, Michigan, January 12, 2021. Age 37.
- Bonaire ‘Bonnie’ Black – Atlanta, Georgia, December 31, 2020. Age 19.
- Koko Nia Labeija – Chicago, Illinois, Found June 2020, Identified April 2021, Age 19.