As activists nationwide gather to protest systemic racism and police brutality, let us not forget the Black transgender people disproportionately affected by hate-motivated violence.
Two Black trans women were killed this week alone: Riah Milton of Liberty Township, Ohio, and Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Milton was shot and killed this Tuesday, June 9, according to local media outlets. She was also deadnamed and misgendered in initial reports of her death from local media, a phenomenon that is sadly common when transgender homicides are reported.
Investigators said a group of three people robbed Milton and tried to steal her car. The incident turned violent, and Milton was shot multiple times and pronounced dead on the scene. She was just 25 years old. Two of her attackers were arrested, including a minor, while one, Tyree Jeffrey Cross, remains on the run.
A friend from her community has created a GoFundMe to "help with sending her home."
Fells, a beloved member of Philadelphia's LGBTQ community, was found dead in a river earlier this week in a particularly gruesome killing. Dior Edmonds, Fells' sister, started a GoFundMe to cover her funeral expenses.
"Dominique was a Black [trans woman] brutally murdered and discarded in a river in Philidelphia," Edmonds wrote. "Our family is in mourning and in utter disbelief that something like this could happen to one of our own."
Her death is being investigated as a homicide, and investigators are asking anyone with information to contact the Philadelphia Police Department at (215) 686-TIPS or PhillyPolice.com.
In a media statement, the city of Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs mourned Fells' death during Pride Month, "a season typically filled with joy and celebration for many in our community":
As thousands take to the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, it is critical we remember that this includes Black trans lives Dominique Rem’mie Fells’ life mattered.
We are reminded with this, and countless other painful losses—especially within our transgender communities—that there is much left to do until we achieve full equality, respect, and support for us all. The murder of transgender people—especially those of color—is truly an epidemic, and a crisis that we cannot afford to allow to persist any further.
The back-to-back murders of both women sparked an outpouring of sorrow and support on social media:
Rest in power, Riah and Dominique.