Riah Milton and Dominique Fells: Two Black transgender women murdered in America this week
It comes amid mass Black Lives Matter protests this pride month
By Clodagh Meaney
As Black Lives Matter protests continue across the United States, this week two black transgender women were murdered within a 24-hour period.
The killings became the 13th and 14th violent deaths of trans/gender diverse people in America this year.
25-year-old Riah Milton was shot several times during a robbery on June 9th in Liberty Township, Ohio.
Three people lured Riah to her death as they attempted to steal her car. A fight followed, with Riah Milton allegedly being shot by 18-year-old Kaleb Marshall Tooson who has been arrested in connection with her murder.
A 14-year-old girl was also arrested, with a warrant out for the arrest of 25-year-old Tyree Jeffery Cross.
On the same day, 900 km away, the dismembered body of Dominique Rem’mie Fells was found in a river in Philidelphia, Pennsylvania at about 7 pm Monday evening.
According to the police, the 27-year-old suffered trauma to her face and head. Her legs had also been severed mid-thigh.
Her body was not identified until Thursday June 11th.
Dominique is at least the 7th transgender woman to be killed in Philidelphia since 2013.
The life expectancy of a trans woman of colour is just 35-years-old.
Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David condemned both murders in a statement:
“This week, two Black transgender women were killed," he began.
"This horrifying news comes the same week that we remember the 49 people gunned down at Pulse in Orlando," he said in reference to a 2016 targeted attack.
"As millions continue to take to the streets to declare ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and as a billionaire author with a gigantic megaphone continues to spout off transphobic propaganda to her millions of followers."
“Tragedy does not happen in a vacuum, and each of these events shows how much work we still must do to ensure dignity and justice for all," he added.
"These two women, Dominique “Rem'mie” Fells and Riah Milton, deserve to have their names known. As our country faces a long-overdue reckoning with the violence and indignities that Black people have dealt with for centuries, we must affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter. And we must do everything we can to ensure that we create policies and laws that lift up our transgender siblings and communities where transgender people are not targeted for who they are."
"Today, we mourn alongside Dominique's and Riah's loved ones and call for all of us to confront transphobia," he concluded.