“They’re hunting us and killing us”…

64571640_2321426004563495_5838703727594176512_nThe Broad Committee for the Search for Equity (CABE in Spanish) alerted today to an epidemic of anti-LGBTQ violence in Puerto Rico after five trans people were killed in the past two months, plus five other LGBTQ+ people killed in the past fifteen months.

“They are hunting us and they are killing us. There is no other way to put it. In the past two months, five trans people have been killed in a resurgence of violence that we have not seen in our country for over a decade. We demand immediate and urgent action by the government to stop this wave of violence against our trans and LGBTQ people”, said Ivana Fred, a CABE ally.

CABE refers to the murders of Kevin Fret, Alexa in Toa Baja, Yampi in Moca, two men killed in the Jíbaro Monument last year, another man whose cause of death has not been determined and was found naked in Salinas in mid-February, the double homicide in Humacao this week, an inmate that was beaten and hanged a week ago, and a 79-year-old man who died violently at his residence in Caguas recently. In addition, in the rest area of the Jíbaro Monument there have been several attacks on LGBTQ people in which the victims have been critically injured.

“We demand that the Police and the government respond to this crisis of violence against LGBTQ people immediately and urgently. It is your duty to report the status of investigations and conduct them in accordance with established protocols for hate crimes, the correct treatment of trans and LGBTQ people and in accordance with the reform of the Police. They are killing us and the government is looking the other way. This epidemic of anti-LGBTQ violence is as important as the emergency that we are all experiencing right now”, said Pedro Julio Serrano, a CABE spokesman.

The ten fatal victims of the past 15 months respond to Kevin Fret, Alexa Negrón Luciano, Serena Angelique Velázquez, Layla Peláez, Emilio Colón, Penélope Díaz, Javier Morales, Carlos Robin Morales, Yampi Méndez and Luis Díaz.

“The violence we are experiencing has its roots in the hateful rhetoric and actions by fundamentalist politicians and religious leaders who incite violence, who persecute, demonize and attack LGBTQ people. Enough of using us as scapegoats for your divisive agendas. We are as human beings as the rest of society and we deserve the same respect, the same freedom and the same equity”, said Carmen Milagros Vélez Vega, a CABE spokesperson.

On Monday, April 27, CABE sent a letter to the Secretary of Public Security, Pedro Janer, and to the Commissioner of the Police Bureau, Henry Escalera, demanding an immediate and urgent meeting with Janer and Escalera in order to demand answers on the status of the investigations, the plan for surveillance and prevention of these crimes, as well as a guarantee that the processes will be carried out in accordance with the protocols and free of prejudice.

“The Police have an obligation to disclose the status of investigations into at least nine murders, one death without a specific cause and several attacks in which LGBTQ people have been injured since January 2019. It is the State’s obligation to address this epidemic of anti-LGBTQ violence. Even more so, it is up to the government led by Wanda Vázquez to declare not only a state of maximum alert and allocation of resources for gender violence, but also for homophobic and transphobic violence as well”, stated Osvaldo Burgos, a CABE spokesperson.

Natasha Alor, a young trans activist, called for “creating a society in which respect for diversity is a value, not a weapon to attack the experiences of another human being. Our lives experience violence every second of the day. This is not only unfair, it is inhumane. As trans people we demand respect for our lives and the guarantee that justice will be done so that these crimes do not go unpunished and do not happen again”.

Lastly, Justin Jesus Santiago, a CABE ally, emphasized that “it is time for this government to demonstrate that it is going to fulfill its duty to protect trans people and LGBTQ people. We recognize the Coronavirus emergency, but there is also the emergency of homophobic and transphobic violence that is killing us. It is time to act. Not one more LGBTQ person can die because of hatred.”

Organizations supporting this call to action:

  1. Alianza de Comercio LGBTTQ+ de PR
  2. Amnistia Internacional Puerto Rico
  3. Asociación de Psicología de Puerto Rico
  4. Bienestar Human Services
  5. Butterflies Trans Foundation
  6. CARIB
  7. Casa Juana Colon
  8. Casa Julia
  9. COAI, Inc.
  10. Colectivo Orgullo Arcoiris- PRIDE PR
  11. Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas de Puerto Rico
  12. Comite Organizador Desfile Orgullo Boqueron
  13. Concilio de Iglesias
  14. Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer
  15. Diversxs Puerto Rico
  16. EDUCAMOS
  17. Escuela Espírita Allan Kardec
  18. Federación de Maestros
  19. GLAAD
  20. Hause of Martell
  21. Hispanic Federation
  22. Human Rights Campaign
  23. Inter Mujeres
  24. Lambda Legal
  25. Latino Commission on Aids
  26. Mesa de Dialogo Martin Luther King
  27. Movimiento Amplio de Mujeres
  28. National Center for Transgender Equality
  29. National LGBTQ Task Force
  30. New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP)
  31. Open Society Foundations, Proyecto Puerto Rico
  32. Organización Puertorriqueña de la Mujer Trabajadora
  33. Orgullo Boquerón
  34. OutRight Action International
  35. Poetas Sin Marcha
  36. Pro Mujeres
  37. Proyecto Matria, Inc.
  38. Puerto Rico Para Tod@s
  39. Sindicato Puertorriqueño de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras
  40. Spectrum
  41. Trans Youth Coalition
  42. Waves Ahead & SAGE Puerto Rico

People in their individual capacity:

  1.  Alejandro Santiago Calderón
  2. Albert Rodríguez
  3. Alegna Malavé Marrero
  4. Alvaro Brusi, Ingeniero
  5. Amarillys Muñoz, Psicóloga Clínica y Catedratica
  6. Angel Crespo, Trabajador Social
  7. Beatriz Gonzalez , Educadora
  8. Carlos Camuy
  9. Daniel Velázquez
  10. David Mejias
  11. Debbie Aruz, MD
  12. Desiree Cardoza
  13. Diannette Fantauzzi
  14. Doroti Santiago, Educadora
  15. Dra. América Facundo, Catedrática
  16. Dra. Lisandra Torres
  17. Dra. Mercedes Rodríguez
  18. Dra. Sarah Malavé
  19. Duane Kolterman
  20. Eduardo Nuñez Caldero, Comerciante
  21. Elizabeth Fernandez O’Brien, Artista
  22. Ellen Pratt, Catedratica Retirada
  23. Esther Vicente-Inter Mujeres
  24. Estrella Baerga Santini, Educadora
  25. Eva Ayala, Educadora
  26. Ilia Cornier, Agrónoma
  27. Irene La farga, Psicóloga Social Comunitaria
  28. Isabel Feliciano
  29. Jaime Vazquez-Bernier, Abogado
  30. Javier La farga, fotógrafo profesional
  31. Javier Nolla Vila
  32. Joey Pons
  33. Jorge Iván López Martínez
  34. Julian Silva
  35. Juliana Maria Acosta Velez, Estudiante UPR
  36. Justin Jesus Santiago
  37. Kayra Lee Naranjo
  38. Larry Emil Alicea- Presidente Federación Internacional de Trabajo Social América Latina y el Caribe
  39. Lcda. Verónica Rivera Torres, CLADEM
  40. Leonell Justiniano
  41. Lisa Morales, Profesora Universitaria
  42. Lorenza Ortiz, Educadora
  43. Luis Rivera Pagán Profesor Emerito de Teología Ecuménica (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  44. Luisa Acevedo-Jubilada
  45. Madeline Roman, Sociologa
  46. Maria Dolores Fernos, Abogada
  47. María E.Lara, Educadora
  48. Marilucy González-Inter Mujeres
  49. Mario Amílcar Torres Lara
  50. Marisol Pares Avila , Educadora
  51. Marisol Velez-Vega, Terapista Fisico
  52. Marlyn Souffont, Educadora
  53. Mary Cele Rivera Martinez, Abogada
  54. Mayra Cabrera-Ulloa, Audiologa
  55. Mayra Molinary, Artista Plastica
  56. Naira Lee
  57. Nicole Chacón
  58. Obispo Rafael Moreno
  59. Patricia Otón-Inter Mujeres
  60. Patricia Velez-Vega, Educadora
  61. Profesora Yanira Reyes
  62. Rev. Felipe Lozada  Montañez
  63. Ruth Otero, Catedratica UPR Retirada
  64. Simara Fierce
  65. Sylas Crow Cardoza
  66. Teresa Previdi, cineasta
  67. Wally Soto
  68. Will Tirado
  69. Zoraida Santiago, Antropologia Social

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