Members of the Transgender community, advocates and supporters hosted a die-in on the steps of City Hall as part of Trans Liberation Tuesday.
The event was sparked by the recent death of Taja de Jesus, a 36-year-old transgender woman who was found stabbed to death in a Bayview apartment complex.
De Jesus was located on the steps of a building in the 1400 block of McKinnon Avenue near Lane Street in the Bayview District on Feb. 1. She was found suffering from multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, according to police.
After interviewing witnesses, officers determined that the suspect fled the scene on foot before police arrived at the scene.
While police did not provide further information regarding the suspect’s identity or the suspect’s motive for the homicide, the TAJA Coalition reported that the man who killed De Jesus took his own life shortly after taking hers.
Danielle Castro, event organizer, said:
“Today we are standing here because the ignorance and the transphobia, the lack of support continues in this country, in this city.”
Dozens of transgender women and supporters laid on the ground for three minutes and 50 seconds, which According to Castro was meant to represent the average life expectancy of trans women of color which they said was 35 years:
“I can’t stand having to have events like this to show that our lives matter.”
Earlier Tuesday morning, another transgender woman of color, Penny Proud, was slain, bringing the total to five since the start of 2015, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.
Wil Coleman, Founder and director of Pride New Orleans Celebration, said:
“As I looked across at all the faces today it’s very hard for me because I realized that what was going on was that I was seeing the face of the reason why myself and other organizers of the event do what we do.”
At the close of the event, several transgender women and supporters filled the weekly Board of Supervisors meeting to address issues such as violence and housing.
Bay City News contributed to this report.