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Government, Politics & Issues

Gathering will remember Kiwi Herring, black, transgender woman shot and killed by police

Mourners gather to remember Kiwi Herring in August 2017, in this file photo.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Mourners gather to remember Kiwi Herring in August 2017, in this file photo.

Members of the LGBTQ community and others will gather Friday at Transgender Memorial Garden to commemorate Kiwi Herring, a black, transgender woman killed last year by police.

Two police officers shot Herring last August while they were investigating a reported stabbing in the apartment building where Herring lived with her partner and three children.

The event, organized by the Metro Trans Umbrella Group, will call for the protection of transgender people, particularly trans women of color, said LadyAshley Gregory, a board member of the group.

“We want to show we are still here as friends, as family, as allies, alike, fighting to make sure things like this don’t continue to happen,” Gregory said.

‘Keep fighting for our community’

A police report about the Aug. 23, 2017, incident says Herring confronted officers with a knife before they shot and killed her.

The report noted Herring as a man named Kenneth but she identified as a transgender woman. Neighbors said she and her partner had been harassed by others in the building about their gender identities.

People left messages of love on a poster on the door to the apartment where Herring was killed by police, as seen in this file photo.
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
People left messages of love on a poster on the door to the apartment where Herring was killed by police, as seen in this file photo.

If the same incident had involved a white, cisgender man — someone who identifies with the gender assigned at birth — the person would likely have been led away handcuffed, but alive, Gregory said.

“It shows the systematic problems we have,” Gregory said.

So far this year, 16 transgender people, mostly transgender women of color, have died violent deaths nationally, according to a report by the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign. 

Transgender people continue to face violence and discrimination, Gregory said, despite recent developments affecting others LGBTQ people.

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“Many of us sit back and say, ‘Love won,’ and now we have marriage equality,” Gregory said. “It’s easy to be complacent.”

Transgender people have been at the center of every fight for rights, including the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion that’s touted as the birth of the LGBTQ civil rights movement.

“There’s still so many things that we have to do and we owe that to them — to keep fighting for our community,” Gregory said.

Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

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