Vigil held for Black trans woman A’nee Roberson killed in suspected homicide

Vigil for A'nee Roberson

A vigil held in honour of suspected murder victim A’nee Roberson was attended by close to 100 people in Washington D.C this week.

A’nee Roberson, a Black transgender woman, was killed on Saturday (21 October) morning near LGBTQ+ establishment Nellie’s Sports Bar, D.C Police confirmed to NBC Washington.

Roberson was assaulted near the bar, and then hit by a car when she tried to run away. The driver of the car, who stayed at the scene and cooperated with police, was not connected with the assault.

Police are now investigating whether Roberson’s gender identity had anything to do with the assault, and are searching for an unidentified man who they say committed second-degree murder by causing her to be hit by the car.

Footage of the person of interest in Roberson’s murder has been released by police and can be seen here.

A November 2021 study from Human Rights Watch determined that more than three-quarters of the trans and non-binary people killed in the US in 2020 were people of colour, with trans women of colour at most risk.

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A candlelit vigil in honour of Roberson on Wednesday (25 October) afternoon saw a large turnout from locals, loved ones, and LGBTQ+ activists.

The vigil was organised by Iya Dammons, the executive director of DC Safe Haven, and Earline Budd, the founder of Empowering the Transgender Community (ETC).

Among the 20 people who spoke at the touching vigil were Roberson’s father and brother, who were joined by other family members, Washington Blade reports. All family members in attendance said that they had loved and accepted Roberson for who she was, ever since she came out as trans aged 13.

Roberson’s father Gary thanked the crowds for coming along to show their love and support.

“Me, as her dad, had no choice but to support her,” said Roberson’s father.

“From this day forward, I am part of the LGBTQ+ community. You have my support. Thank you so much for coming out today.”

A picture of two trans flags waving in an open area.
Around 100 people showed up to A’nee Roberson’s vigil. (Credit: Getty Images)

“Today we stand in solidarity as one community,” said Demmons, who also spoke at the vigil.

“In the face of adversity, we rise, we shine, conquer. We are Black, we are trans, we are queer. We are willing and we are more than what the world sees us, more than the world knows us.”

Zachary Parker, D.C Council’s only gay member, also spoke, telling the gathering that he and his fellow Councilmembers wanted to share their love and support of all those who were mourning Roberson’s loss.

“Her death is not in vain,” Parker said. “We are going to keep her spirit alive and bring her murderer to justice.”

The police’s LGBT Liaison Unit was present at Wednesday’s vigil and handed out flyers that called for information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Roberson’s murder, offering a reward of up to $25,000.

The director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs, Japer Bowles also attended the vigil, telling the crowd: We are all sick and tired of coming to these things to see justice done.

Referring to the city government’s efforts to end violence against the LGBTQ+ community, he added: “We need to see justice done. We are doing what we can.”