Black Transgender Woman Killed Outside Workplace, Co-Worker Charged with Murder

by Xara Aziz
Courtesy: Facebook/Imanitwitaho Zachee

A disturbing wave of Black transgender killings has stricken communities across the US, leaving many worried and in search for answers. Now a recent report has revealed that a Rwandan immigrant who identified as transgender was brutally shot and killed at a Kentucky JBS Foods plant, her place of employment.

Imanitwitaho Zachee, known as Zachee by family and friends, was killed by a coworker, Edilberto Lores Reyes, and another assailant, who both admitted to murdering the victim. Police are still investigating and believe there was no motive.

According to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, Zachee is “possibly the fifth of trans and GNC folks in America to die due to violence in 2023,” according to Queer Kentucky. “Her death means a trans person has reportedly died a violent death every 6.8 days in 2023.”

“Too often we know that trans folks die at the hands of people who are doing it out of prejudice and hate,” Chris Hartman, a representative at Fairness Campaign, told WLKY. “The vast majority of trans women who are murdered are Black trans women; nearly 70% each year.”

Since Zachee’s passing, a GoFundMe has been created to assist with funeral expenses.

“Zachee was a loving, respectful, caring and humble person,” reads a statement on her GoFundMe page. “She was born in Rwanda and came to the United States in 2019. She was well-loved by her family, friends and coworkers. She lived her life bravely and authentically as herself.”

The Human Rights Campaign has reported that most transgender people who are murdered are Black. In Kentucky, the General Assembly has introduced five bills targeting the transgender community for discrimination, and “currently the ACLU is tracking 272 anti-LGBTQ bills in state legislatures across the country,” Queer Kentucky has reported.

Shortly after Zachee’s death, about a dozen LGBTQ+ advocacy and support groups gathered to hold a candlelight vigil in Zachee’s honor. To learn more about Zachee and to donate to her GoFundMe page, please visit here.

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