Antash’a English, a 38-year-old transgender woman was shot and killed in Jacksonville, Fla. in the early morning hours last Friday. She was already the 11th known transgender homicide victim this year in the US.
English was targeted and shot in the abdomen from a vehicle driving by. Still alive, she was found on the street by the police at 3.45 a.m. and rushed to a local hospital. Sadly, however, Ms. English later died from her injuries.
On her Facebook page Ms. English described herself as an “independent” transgender woman who “thrives on being the best person” she can be. She was a well-loved performer and competed in – and won – many gay pageants. Taliyah Smith, a friend of English’s, whom she met years ago at one such occasion, remembers her as “an unapologetic, bold and loyal person. We both were entertainers, performing regularly at a nightclub in Jacksonville’s Riverside neighbourhood.”
A candlelight vigil and balloon release in memory of Antash’a English will be held Thursday June 7th at 7.30 p.m. at Sidney J. Gefen Riverwalk Park in her home town of Jacksonville. After the park ceremony, InCahoots Night Club, where English was a popular and frequent performer, is to host a benefit night to aid her family cover funeral expenses.
Last fall, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) and The Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) released a report on acts of violence that made 2017 the deadliest year on record for transgender people, particularly for trans women of color. 28 people were killed, some of whom may have been the victims of a hate crime. Since 2013, HRC has tracked 118 incidents of fatal violence against transgender and non-binary people. Of these, 67 have been victims of gun violence.
In early February 2018 another transgender woman, Celine Walker, was also murdered in Jacksonville, Florida; like Ms. English, she too was shot to death. Inexcusably, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has and continues to misgender both of these women.
As regards Friday’s killing of Antash’a English, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has opened an active murder investigation and asks anyone with information to contact their office or call Crime Stoppers (866) 845-TIPS. The investigation into the homicide of Celine Walker also remains open and unsolved.