Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Black Trans Woman Angel Naira Shot to Death; 47th Victim This Year

Angel Naira

Black transgender woman Angel Naira, 36, was shot to death in her apartment in Aliquippa, Pa., November 11, making her at least the 47th trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming person to die by violence in the U.S. in 2021 — the deadliest year on record.

Naira was deadnamed and misgendered by local media, which have reported that state police have released little information on her death; it has been ruled a homicide. Friends are raising the possibility that it was a hate crime.

Naira was a home health aide and a graduate of cosmetology school, according to a GoFundMe page raising money for funeral expenses. On the page, her brother Martell Murray, referring to Naira as “B,” wrote that she “was a great person and loved everyone. She had a big heart and would do anything for her family and friends.”

“What a Beautiful soul so outgoing and you definitely embraced your inner self taught me a lot about loving your self and never being afraid to be you no matter what anyone says ... you were fearless and fabulous baby one of the best to do it and always had a smile on your face,” friend Bria Jones wrote on Facebook. Another friend, Linda Slade, wrote, “Fly high my dear friend Angel Naira Ima gonna miss u so much you were such a beautiful person with a very big heart.”

“It is devastating but unsurprising that we are remembering yet another bright soul during Trans Week of Awareness and just days before Trans Day of Remembrance,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. “The pace of deaths this year has been unrelenting. We’ve already recorded more cases this year than during the entirety of 2020. We must all commit not only to remembering those who have been taken from us but to dismantling transphobia and improving the material conditions of trans and nonbinary people to end this epidemic of violence.”

At least 44 trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people died by violent means in 2020, a record since activists and media began keeping track. With more than a month to go in 2021, that record has been surpassed. And there are likely more deaths that go unreported or misreported in any given year. The majority of victims are generally Black women.

Pennsylvania state police ask that anyone with information about Naira’s death call (727) 773-7400.

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