BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – An annual vigil was recognized at a Boston university campus to raise awareness and remember those who lost their lives from transgender-related violence.
People gathered at Simmons University Saturday afternoon in honor of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). Held every year on November 20, the vigil honored the lives of the 60 people who have died from transgender violence in the United States in 2021.
“The loss is too deep and it continues to happen to our community,” Nicholas McCaskill, vice president of TransResistance MA, said at the vigil according to the Boston Globe. “But we are a resilient community, and we have been persevering all this time, and we will continue to do so.”
Those in attendance held candles labeled with the names of transgender women of color who lost their lives to such violence.
One woman, 42-year-old Jahaira DeAlto, was stabbed to death in a Dorchester apartment on May 2. DeAlto was a well-respected advocate for transgender rights and domestic violence prevention.
Also honored was Rita Hester, who was found dead in her Allston apartment in 1998. According to GLAAD, Hester’s death inspired the first TDOR in 1999.
“The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance,” the organization wrote on their website.
There is also currently a mural in the works that will honor Hester’s legacy in Allston.
The vigil was live-streamed, starting at 2:00 p.m., via Instagram while being held at the Simmons’ academic quad. All donations from the event are set to be divided between Trans Resistance MA, the Transgender Emergency Fund and Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program.