As people across the country continue to protest systemic racism and police brutality, two more Black trans women have lost their lives in quick succession.
Merci Mack of Dallas, Texas, and Brayla Stone of Sherwood, Arkansas, both died before the end of June, meaning at least four Black trans women were killed this Pride Month alone. Mack, 22, was found unconscious after being shot in the head on Monday, June 30, Out magazine reports. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and her death is being investigated as a homicide. Mack was also dead-named by a local news outlet.
Her state leads the nation in transgender homicides, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Stone was found dead last week after a man allegedly bragged about “killing [her] for $5,000 on Snapchat,” according to the Atlanta Tribune. She was just 17 years old. Like Mack, Stone was dead-named by local media. Her death is being treated as a homicide.
A Change.org petition has been created demanding justice for the apparent hit against a Black trans teenager.
“This is not making major news even when her killer boasted about the murder on social media saying that he was payed $5,000 dollars for the crime,” the petition reads. “ALL Black lives matter, let’s get justice for Brayla!”
This is just…smh. Another Black trans girl was murdered. When we said protect Black trans women—we meant our youth as well. She was only 17 and media of course used her birth name instead of her REAL name. Say her name. #BraylaStone pic.twitter.com/MBfyOdrALu
— Ashlee Marie Preston (@AshleeMPreston) June 27, 2020
What do you do when you don’t have the capacity to wrap your head around the pain and trauma a community of people continues to experience and you know that your feelings aren’t half of what’s required to show up as a member of that community? You continue the work and insist that others, who purport to believe that #BlackLivesMatter, also get engaged.
What pains me most about the continued loss of Black trans life is that nearly everyone who is identified as Black knows the sting of stigma and the trauma of discrimination. We know the horror of being the victim of violence simply because of socially constructed ideas of “Blackness.” This shared experience alone should be enough for each of us, everyone who is Black, regardless of cis or trans experience, to collectively call for and do the work to end the violence that trans and non-binary members of our community experience—too often in silence. Merci Mack deserves better, as a community we failed her and so many of our trans siblings and this is beyond unacceptable.
The tragic deaths of Mack and Stone come shortly after the murders of Riah Milton and Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, two Black trans women who were killed in early June.
In late May, Tony McDade, a Black trans man from Tallahassee, Florida, was also fatally shot by police.
Rest in power, Merci and Brayla.