Brooklyn DeShuna Smith, 20, is the 32nd known transgender person to have been killed in the US this year after she was found dead last Wednesday in Shreveport, Louisiana. Smith, who was studying cosmetology at her local community college and recently celebrated her 20th birthday, was found dead on Bernstein Avenue with a gunshot wound. According to the Shreveport Times, police are investigating the incident but have not yet identified any suspects. It is not yet clear if Smith’s death is being treated as a hate crime.
Smith’s murder makes 2020 the deadliest year on record for the trans community in the US, the previous of which was 2017 where 31 trans people were killed in the country. Tori Cooper, the director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative at the Human Rights Campaign (HCR), said: “With the news of Brooklyn’s death, we’ve now seen more trans and gender non-conforming people killed this year since we began tracking these deaths in 2013. This violence is horrific, and it must be stopped.”
Cooper continued: “We need everyone to commit to taking action today to bring this violence to an end. As we mourn with Brooklyn’s friends and family, we will continue fighting for justice for all trans and gender non-conforming people.” Smith’s death comes days after the murder of Felycya Harris, who was shot in Georgia. The majority of trans victims of violence in the US have been black women such as Smith and Harris. HCR president Alphonso David believes “this epidemic of violence, which is particularly impacting transgender women of color, must and can be stopped.”