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What People Are Saying: Maya Young & Veronica Banks Cano

PicMonkey Collage_maya_young
Alexander Kacala
Written by Alexander Kacala

On Friday, February 20, Veronica Banks Cano, was found dead in a bathtub at the EL Mio Motel on the south side of San Antonio, Texas, according to KABB-TV News.  One day later, Maya Young was brutally stabbed to death in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both of these women are transgender women of color, making them the latest victims in this epidemic of violence against this marginalized community.

We gathered reactions and thoughts after these tragedies. From celebrities and LGBT activists near and far, here is what they had to say:

“Equality Florida joins in denouncing the alarming incidents of violence against the transgender community and we morn for the loss of Maya Young. The epidemic of murders of transgender women of color must end. Additionally, adding to this tragedy is the mishandling of the reporting of this murder by the media. We must continue the work to stop this cycle of violence and we must continue to educate so that trans people worldwide will be treated with respect and dignity. Trans Lives Matter!” – Gina Duncan, Transgender Inclusion Director at Equality Florida

“Here we are again, mourning the loss of another young, transgender woman of color. This time, again, in Philadelphia. It is devastating to learn of the murder of 25-year-old Maya Young who was stabbed to death this past weekend. Maya’s name and memory now join an ever growing list of trans identified people who have lost their lives at far too young an age to violence. Last year 23 transgender murders were reported across our nation. Two of those 23 reported murders were transgender women of color, both in their twenties, who were murdered in our City. Whether at the hands of someone who has specifically targeted them for who they are or as a result of systematic failures and a society that continues to marginalize transgender people, placing them in perpetual places of danger and violence, there is tremendous work that must be done to stop the onslaught of death and victimization. We must work harder, faster and smarter, as a City, State, Nation and society to ensure transgender people have every opportunity to live, grow and prosper. It is critical that we work to level the playing field and ensure that there’s access and opportunities for satisfying and sustainable jobs and careers, education, housing, meaningful medical care and the necessary coverage to go along with it, just for starters. Whether a fight to ensure access to a bathroom, classroom, shelter, home, government office, emergency room, doctor’s office, college degree, or simply a safe street to walk on, this is an all hands on deck moment for our society to protect some of its most vulnerable members. We need to do more than solve murders, we need to solve the problems that lead to them happening to these specific people over and over again. My heart is with Maya’s sister, family, friends and community.” – Nellie Fitzpatrick, Director, Office of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia

“We as a community need to do better with providing quality resources, support, education and job opportunities so that tragedies like Maya Young are not a regular occurrence. The community and society need to address the real reason trans women of color are being put in situations that compromise their lives.” – Sharron L Cooks, Philosopher and Advocate, Owner of Making Our Lives Easier 

“In the midst of trans women of color – in particular black trans women – continuing to face and struggle with discrimination and being plagued by domestic terrorism as evidenced by the recent senseless slaying of 25 year old Maya Young, the LGBT community cannot be distracted by diversionary tactics such as arbitrary anti- trans bathroom bills and “leaving the T” off proposed legislation to make it easier to pass. We must not only affirms each other and not allow ourselves to become diluted in the midst of transwomen being slaughtered in our streets. The LGBT community should be committed in a unified voice that says, “We demand that it no longer be acceptable to prey on our sisters.”  Bishop S. F. Makalani-MaHee, Transgender Program Coordinator for the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.