In the wake of recent violence against the LGBTQ community in the D.C. area, including the killing of two transgender women, supporters gathered in Dupont Circle Friday night for a vigil.
Bishop Allyson Abrams of the Empowerment Liberation Cathedral spoke about the violence against transgender people of color that continues to plague the community.
“This violence against our community destroys the fabric of beauty, love, peace and joy,” Abrams said.
Randy Downs, a commissioner for the Advisory Neighborhoods Commission, said that he has sent a letter to D.C. leaders urging them to support the LGBTQ community.
“Our government is failing us,” Downs said. “We learned a long ago that silence equals death.”
Downs said that LGBTQ people in D.C. need resources and he is asking for an initial $5 million from the D.C. government to provide for them.
Speakers recounted their experiences dealing with violence and criticism, and they talked about the support they say is lacking from community leaders.
“You can no longer march in our parade, throwing out beads and candy and then the next week, deny us funding and resource we deserve,” Downs said.
On March 30, police found 27-year-old Ashanti Carmon, of Alexandria, Virginia, fatally shot on the 5700 block of Jost Street in Fairmount Heights, Maryland.
Three months later on June 13, Prince George’s County police found 23-year-old Zoe Spears, of Northeast D.C. on the 600 block of 59th Avenue near the Eastern Avenue border between Prince George’s County and D.C.
Spears was found just blocks away from where Carmon was found. Police say the two knew each other, but they are not ready to say that the cases are related.
“We are actively investigating both homicides. Both women were engaged in commercial sex work. Both women did know each other. They were killed in close proximity to one another,” a Prince George’s County police spokesman told WTOP.
On Tuesday, police investigated a possible hate crime at a Northeast grocery store. The victim told D.C. police that three suspects hurled homophobic slurs at her, one suspect shoved her and one of the suspects also followed her home.
And on June 16, a D.C. man told police that he and his boyfriend were viciously attacked by a group of more than 10 men, some of whom used homophobic slurs.