2016 was difficult as it became the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States with 27 reported victims. Nearly half of which were Black. Unfortunately, 2017 didn’t take long to show that this tragedy wasn’t left in the past.
Mesha Caldwell, a hairstylist from Mississippi was found murdered 30 miles outside of Canton on the side of the road.
“This is the first homicide of a transgender person that NCAVP has responded to in 2017, during a time of heightened fear and increased violence against LGBTQ communities,” Emily Waters, senior manager of national research and policy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, said in a statement. “As we continue to hear more reports of violence, we must remind ourselves that this violence is not normal and fight harder than ever to keep transgender people safe.”
Local police have ruled Caldwell’s death a homicide and are currently investigating.
“Each time a person of trans experience is killed or experiences violence against them, it is an assault against all of the ideals that we as a country stand for,” Evonne Kaho, a friend of Caldwell’s, said to local media. “The ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The freedom of being who we want to be and being entitled to do so without persecution.”
Kaho also runs Love Me Unlimited 4 Life, a transgender nonprofit, and once lived with Caldwell, according to The Independent.