The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Trans Women of Color Killed in North Carolina, Wisconsin

Brazil Johnson and Sasha Mason

Two more transgender Americans, both women of color, have died by violence recently, bringing the year’s total of such deaths to 17.

Sasha Mason, a 45-year-old Latina, was shot to death during a robbery at her home in Zebulon, N.C. The attack took place May 13 but is only now being reported outside the region, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents notes. Also, local coverage misgendered and deadnamed her, so she was not initially recognized as trans.

Mason lived in an apartment behind her mother’s home, TV station WNCN reports. Her mother was awakened by gunshots early in the morning and found Mason lying on the floor, gravely wounded. Police arrived at the scene and provided emergency treatment, but Mason died shortly thereafter.

Police arrested one suspect, Ali Tariq Khabir Wiggins, the same day, and another, Julius Antwan Smith, two days later, according to the station. They are both charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, and additional charges are likely, police said. “Wiggins was a known associate [of Mason],” WNCN reports. “Police believe the attack was targeted.”

“Sasha’s friends and family have shared on social media that Sasha will be remembered as a sweet, kind and generous person with a beautiful smile who cherished her friends and family,” notes a press release from the Human Rights Campaign.

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Brazil Johnson, a 28-year-old Black woman, died June 15 in Milwaukee, TV station WDJT reports. She was shot multiple times, and her death has been ruled a homicide. No suspect has been identified.

Johnson worked as a chef. “Bake, chef it up, loved to get in the kitchen,” her mother, Bernita Gildart, told the station.

Gildart also expressed her grief and outrage. “For someone to do that so many times, that’s just hateful, so I'm looking at it like that’s just total hate,” she said. “Why would you do something like that to her, what did she do so wrong for her to deserve that kind of death?”

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