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Rally held in honor of slain trans woman at Niagara Square

Mike Desmond

Friends, family and supporters gathered today at Niagara Square to celebrate the life of Tonya “Kita” Harvey, a transgender woman who was murdered earlier this month.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, four transgender people, including Tonya, have been murdered in 2018. 2017 saw a record number of fatalities among transgender people. Angela Burnham attended Sunday’s vigil.

“I didn’t know Tonya personally, but whenever someone in our community is murdered it hits me, it hurts. I’m a transgender woman myself. I served seven years in the United States Military and I come home to a country that barely even tolerates our existence. It’s not okay,” Burnham said.

The District Attorney’s Office is looking into the murder of Harvey as possibly being a hate crime. Queers for Racial Justice, an equality group, released a statement saying while they are glad the investigation is being taken seriously in regards to the hate crime laws, they believe current hate crime laws are “not enforced equitably.”

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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