A year ago today, 17 August 2013, Islan Nettles was walking the streets of New York City with her transgender friends.
The group encountered another. Words were exchanged, including transphobic epithets, and a suspect allegedly punched Nettles.
The trans woman fell to the ground, and the suspect continued the attack.
Four days later, the 21-year-old was removed from life support and died.
There was a quick arrest, the crime happened in front of a police station. The suspect was initially charged with misdemeanor assault. That was eventually dropped and, a year later, no one faces punishment for the death of the intern assistant designer.
Today the New York City Anti-Violence Project published a remembrance of Nettles. The activist organization noted her death is part of larger trend of crimes committed against trans women of color.
‘Islan’s death was not an isolated incident. In 2013, twelve transgender women of color were killed throughout the United States,’ AVP wrote. ‘Since June 1st of 2014, we have lost five more.
‘This is an epidemic and it’s one that hits close to home: in New York City, transgender and gender non-conforming people reported violence at increasing levels (up 21% from 2012). This violence has a specific impact of transgender people of color: 74% of all reports of hate violence came from people of color.’
The group notes one way to honor Nettles, and other victims of anti-LGBTI crimes, is to remember, and work with, communities impacted by violence.