Black Trans Woman Jazz Alford Killed in Alabama, the 22nd Trans Person Killed This Year

30-year-old Jazz Alford Found Dead in Her Hotel Room

+ Black trans woman and North Carolina native, Jazz Alford was found dead in her motel room in Birmingham, Alabama in late September with initial police and media reports misgendering her. She’s the 22nd trans person killed this year, which is quickly catching up to last year’s death toll of 23 reported deaths of trans people — the majority of which were Black trans women.

jazzalford

Alford’s sister Toya Milan, who is also transgender, told AL.com Alford was a loving person and “didn’t know anybody that would want to hurt her.”

“Her death was a huge hit for the LGBT community,” Milan told AL.com. “There was another transgender [person] shot multiple times somewhere else recently. People think [transgender people] are monsters, when really we just want to be accepted.”

On Wednesday, police arrested 23-year-old Denzell Thomas for shooting another trans woman during a home invasion and robbery on Monday. He’s now a suspect in Alford’s death. The woman was shot in the face but survived and is recovering at UAB hospital.

According to Mic, Birmingham Police Department’s homicide division knew Alford was transgender, and didn’t reveal what they knew due to “case sensitivity.” And AL.com reporter Carol Robinson didn’t know Alford was trans until Alford’s sister emailed her.

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Alford’s coworkers remembered her on Facebook.

“She was a lovely, beautiful person. Always kind and smiling,” Alyssa Huggins recalled. “What a tragedy.”

Another former coworker, Sherri Johnson Pilson, shared that Alford was always quick to cover a shift.

“Whenever I needed Sundays off for church, Jazz would always cover me and say, ‘pray for me too chile!’” Pilson wrote. “Such a sweet person.”


Activism

+ In an amazing feat of activism, Polish women managed to shut down the government’s proposed total abortion ban when thousands of people boycotted work and classes and marched in the streets in Warsaw. However, the previous restrictive laws on abortion remain in place; pregnant people can only get one in “cases of incest, rape, badly damaged fetuses and situations where the mother’s life is at risk.”

+ Workers in 30 cities put together coordinated protests against McDonald’s this week in response to what workers say are constant incidents of sexual harassment that the company is informed of but does nothing to address.


Law & Order

Mary & Mollie

Mary & Mollie

+ A jury found David Malcom Strickland guilty of killing 19-year-old Mollie Judith Olgin and seriously injuring her girlfriend Mary Kristene Chapa at a 2012 park shooting in South Texas. He was convicted of capital murder and automatically given a life sentence in prison because prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. Investigators say the two teen girls were sexually assaulted and then shot execution style, while at a park near Corpus Christi. Police arrested 30-year-old Strickland after receiving an anonymous letter with information regarding the case.

+ California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1146, which would rrequire private universities to publicly disclose the Title IX exemptions granted to them. In other words, universities who discriminate against LGBT students must shine a light on their policies regarding gender identity and sexual orientation.


Politics/Election 2016

+ Courts told the state government of North Carolina that they had to stop racist voter suppression, but they’re still trying their hardest to do it anyway. Related: a video from Franchesca Ramsey about why voter ID laws are racist.

+ Depositions of Trump’s lawyers on his 1992 bankruptcy hearing revealed they used to meet with him in pairs so he “couldn’t backtrack on them” because he was such a reliable liar. They join other former Trump employees, like his former ghostwriter and architect, whose personal experience confirms he is truly a nightmare of a person.


Prison/Police/Police Violence

+ In 2015, 35-year-old Michael Sabbie was found dead in a jail cell. Now, video has been released that shows what happened leading up to his death.

The video shows that corrections officers knocked him to the ground, sprayed him with pepper spray and dragged him to a cell, all while he told them that he could not breathe. Meanwhile, the medical examiner ruled his death “natural.” But reports show that beginning on July 20, Sabbie repeatedly asked for help, saying he was having trouble breathing and that he thought he had pneumonia. He said, “I can’t breathe”—the same phrase Eric Garnerrepeated when he was choked by a New York Police Department officer—19 times on the video. He was reportedly found dead about 14 hours after he was sprayed.

+ Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan for a new agency to investigate police violence is moving forward, although concerns remain that it isn’t going to be effective enough.


Grab Bag

+ While Hurricane Matthew barrels through the east coast of Florida and makes its way to Georgia and South Carolina, it’s left Haiti in total devastation. The Category 4 hurricane killed over 300 people in Haiti with some reports saying as many as 478 people were killed. Flooding and destruction has blocked roads and damaged power lines and have completely destroyed buildings. A major bridge connecting the capital of Port-au-Prince and southern Haiti collapsed on Tuesday. Think Progress says it best here: “The hurricane, which has also reached the eastern coast of Florida, is yet another reminder that the effects of natural disasters, increasingly intensified by climate change, are most severely felt by the most vulnerable populations in the poorest countries in the world. While in Florida, there have still been no reported deaths, it has already had a severe impact on Haiti.”

+ Orlando’s Pride event is postponed and rescheduled for November because of Hurricane Matthew. Right-wing media suggested the hurricane was a result of God’s wrath to punish “sodomites.” I assure you, they’ll say that for any natural disaster/terrible event in this world. You keep living your gay life, ok?

+ Because the water around Flint, MI is (still) toxic, regular handwashing has become difficult for residents — and now the area is suffering a Shigellosis outbreak because of it, with at least 85 cases so far of the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness.

+ A new study has found that students of all races prefer to have teachers of color, possibly “because of their ability to draw on their own experiences to address issues of race and gender, which, he says, can be highly germane even to teaching subjects like math, especially in America’s majority-minority public schools.”

+ Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end his country’s civil war, although his peace proposal was rejected by a slight margin of voters the same week.

+ Fox News reporter Jesse Watters has kind of sort of apologized for his “man on the street” interview segment in Chinatown where he mostly “invoked a string of Asian stereotypes,” as NPR puts it. Watters says he was “skewering” stereotypes; it is unclear how.

+ The NY Archdiocese will begin a program that allows victims of abuse by clergy to apply for compensation, even if the abuse happened many years ago.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

6 Comments

  1. Right-wing media suggested the hurricane was a result of God’s wrath to punish “sodomites.” I assure you, they’ll say that for any natural disaster/terrible event in this world.

    Two can play this game! Who runs all the places in the US that keep getting hit with hurricanes? Republicans! It’s clearly God’s judgment on their bigoted, misogynistic ways.

  2. It’s nice to see a mention to the Colombian peace process and the Nobel price here (I’m Colombian). The political situation is so complicated, and the agreement’s rejection has so many layers. Part of it, among a lot others, was christian churches joining the “No” campaing because the agreement dared to include a gender perspective and the goverment have (had, she resigned two days ago) an open lesbian women as education minister.

    Women and LGBT people have been a big percentage of our war victims, but it’s an issue that doesn’t get the attention it deserves cause our country is beyond conservative. They tried to include it in the agreement and that was one of the weapons the opposition used to get people to reject it under the guise of “protecting family values and moral”.

    Anyway, I just needed to vent a little, and all this just to say I wish we had a website as this one in Colombia. I’m sure you would be able to express my frustration at the peace referendum results and the part homophobia and transphobia played in it a lot better than I could. But I’m grateful to have you and your perspective of other American/world Issues at least.

  3. I’ve heard that voter ID laws also affect a lot of trans people, whether or not lawmakers realize it – if you have a photo ID, but it doesn’t look like you, or there’s a discrepancy between the gender people read you as and the one you legally are, you can be turned away from the polls. :(

    I love Ruth Bader’s explanation, but what I immediately thought of when I heard that racist logic was, “since enough time has passed with less racism than we had during previous times, it’s time to re-institute racism”.

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