The Transgender Day of Remembrance, an event that is held annually to honor those that have been killed due to hate crimes against the transgender community, took place this year on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in Sykes 115.
At West Chester University, there were hosts at tables spreading awareness of the day and having people pledge to help end transphobia.
Abdul Malik Muhammad, the graduate assistant for the Office of LGBTQA Services, explained that the Transgender Day of Remembrance is important because it gives voices to those that have had their voices taken away from them due to violence and transphobia. The day is a way to honor those who have had their lives stolen from them because of fear and hate.
“We have to memorialize those individuals whose lives have been lost due to the prevalence of hate and ignorance in our world,” said Muhammad, the graduate assistant to the Office of LGBTQA Services.
At the event itself, there was a memorial service and candlelight vigil to honor all lives that have been lost in response to transphobia.
Muhammad shared a video of slam poet Lee Mokobe delivering a poem about his experience as a transgender boy.
After this, Muhammad and others read the names of transgender individuals who were killed this year. People placed flowers on a table representing each name.
During the vigil, while approximately 50 people gathered in a circle with their candles, Muhammad recited a poem.
The night came to a close after junior Deni Tobin sang a song.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there have been more transgender people killed in 2015 than any other recorded year.
Gwendolyn Ann Smith started the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1999 in honor of the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in Allston, Ma.
Over 20 years later, the Transgender Day of Remembrance is now held in over 20 countries in approximately 200 cities.
Dana Perkiss is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at DP785965@wcupa.edu.