Police are investigating the tragic death of Jaida Peterson, who’s been named as the latest Black trans woman to be violently killed in 2021.
Peterson was found in a hotel near the Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte, North Carolina on 4 April, after her room was called for a welfare check.
Officers responded to an emergency call at 1.45pm and found her unresponsive in the bedroom, and a medic pronounced her dead at the scene.
Police have released few details about the case but her death has been ruled as a homicide. She was just 29 years old.
In an injustice compounding this tragedy, Peterson was misgendered and deadnamed in early reports from police and local media until her friends were able to correct this.
Shortly afterwards the community group Charlotte Uprising began fundraising to help get her body back to her family in South Carolina.
They have since raised enough money to pay for her funeral, which was held in Darlington, South Carolina on Tuesday (13 April). Local advocates in Charlotte also held a vigil on 9 April to remember her.
Jaida Peterson’s loved ones have been paying tribute on social media, with her sister writing: “You are going to be truly missed and once again we love you always.”
Her murder marks the 14th known killing of a trans or gender non-conforming person in the US in 2021, according to Human Rights Campaign, though the true number is likely to be higher as many victims are incorrectly reported, as Peterson was.
Just four days after her death, another Black trans woman, Dominique Lucious, was shot dead in Missouri. A 28-year-old man has been charged with her murder.
“In the last week, we’ve learned of the deaths of two Black transgender women, including Jaida. This violence is alarming and unacceptable,” said Tori Cooper of the Human Rights Campaign.
“Her life should never have been cut short. We need everyone to speak up, affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter and take action now in order to end this violence.
“Jaida had family, friends and a community who cared about her and loved her, and our hearts go out to them.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 704-432-TIPS, or leave information anonymously with Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or http://charlottecrimestoppers.