Mourners in and around Los Angeles are remembering Aniya Parker, a 47-year-old transgender woman who was violently killed in East Hollywood last week.
Parker was fatally shot at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday during what police have reported as a robbery. Surveillance footage of Parker’s death has circulated widely across the Internet, showing two to four suspects surrounding her before one punches her and then shoots her in the head as she tries to flee.
Many observers aren’t buying the police’s assertion that Parker’s killing was the result of a robbery gone wrong. ”This was not a robbery, in fact, they left the purse behind,” Mary Zeiser of Hollywood told ABC7 news. “This is a cold-blooded hate crime and this type of violence needs to end.”
Less than 48 hours after her death, Parker’s supporters held a memorial in her honor. Her friends and family are now trying to raise $15,000 for funeral expenses, which include transporting her body back to her home state of Arkansas.
Parker’s death is another example of what seems like nothing short of an epidemic of violence targeting transgender women of color. She’s is the eighth transgender woman of color to be killed since the begining of June, according to the Anti-Violence Project. She’s also the second to be killed in Los Angeles in recent months; 28-year-old Zoraida Reyes’s body was found in a parking lot behind an Orange County Dairy Queen on June 12th. Transgender women of color face disproportionately higher rates of hate violence than other members of the LGBT community, according to researchers. In fact, a 2013 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that LGBT people of color were nearly twice as likely to experience physical violence than their white counterparts. Transgender women made up 67 percent of anti-LGBT homicides in 2013, according to the Anti-Violence Project.