‘Rising star’ activist shot dead after Christmas night out. She’s the 51st trans person killed in 2021

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Ke’Yahonna Stone, a Black trans woman, was fatally shot outside of a bar in Indiana, America.

Stone was taken off life support and died Tuesday (28 December).

The 32-year-old was shot in the head early morning Sunday (26 December), having spent Christmas night out celebrating with friends after returning home to Indiana for a new job with a trans healthcare advocacy group.

Stone had been living in Chicago, working as a warehouse picker for Amazon, and had come back to Indiana to begin working for the Trans Solutions Research and Resource Center.

After a fight erupted outside the bar, Stone was shot while attempting to break it up, friends said.

Police responded to reports of gunfire at the Epic Ultra Lounge parking lot at around 3am, WISH-TV reported. First-responders rushed Stone to a local hospital at 5:30am.

“Trans Solutions Research and Resource Center has lost a star on the rise,” her aunt wrote on Facebook.

“Losing any member of our community is tragic and it is compounding when they are actively advocating for the betterment of all transgender people,” Tori Cooper, director of community engadgement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement on the HRC blog.

“Ke’Yahonna Stone was wholeheartedly invested in helping other trans folks like herself and was about to embark on a new professional path that would have furthered her activism.

“We need activists like Stone. I hope this tragedy inspires others to take the helm she left behind.”

Police are asking for anyone who may have information to contact Detective Michael Wright at the IMPD homicide office at (317) 327-3475 or email him at Michael.Wright@Indy.Gov.

Ke’Yahonna Stone is 51st trans person violently killed in the US this year

2021 has become the deadliest year on record for trans homicides in the US, according to the Human Rights Campaign, as a ruthless “epidemic of violence” grips the nation.

Ke’Yahonna Stone is at least the 51st trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming person violently killed in the US this year.

The full death toll is likely even higher considering that almost three-quarters of trans homicide victims are misgendered and deadnamed by the police and local press, the HRC said. Authorities initially misgendered Stone, but family members said she was a proud trans woman.

A protester in Times Square, New York, in support of Black Women. (Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)
A protester in Times Square, New York, in support of Black Women. (Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)

Such levels of violence have prompted soul-searching in a country where trans people face higher levels of homelessness, poverty and unemployment – these harsh realities haunted Stone, her friends said.

“She didn’t want to be that person who was in the streets no more that everybody was talking about,” one friend told Wish TV.

“She didn’t want to do that no more. She was changing her life.”

“The community is hurting,” the friend added. “Ke’Yahonna was loved by the community and the community is hurting.

“Some in the community were standing right there. It wasn’t they got the call – they were the call.”

Three-fourths of trans homicide cases have involved a gun, according to the 2017-2019 Transgender Homicide Tracker.

The community has mourned across 2021: Tyianna Alexandra, Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, Bianca Bankz, Dominique Jackson, Fifty Bandz, Alexus Braxton, Chyna Carrillo, Jeffrey ‘JJ’ Bright, Jasmine Cannady, Jenna Franks, Diamond ‘Kyree’ Sanders, Rayanna Pardo, Dominique Lucious, Jaida Peterson, Remy Fennell, Tiara Banks, Natalia Smüt, Iris Santos, Tiffany Thomas, Jahaira DeAlto Balenciaga, Keri Washington, Sophie Vásquez, Danny Henson, Whispering Bear Spirit, Serenity Hollis, Oliver ‘Ollie’ Taylor, Thomas Hardin, Poe Black, Novaa Watson, Aidelen Evans, Taya Ashton, Shai Vanderpump, Tierramarie Lewis, Miss CoCo, Pooh Johnson, Disaya Monaee, Brianna Hamilton, Kiér Laprí Kartier, Mel Groves, Royal Poetical Starz, Zoella Rose Martinez, Jo Acker, Jessi Hart, Rikkey Outommuro, Marquiisha Lawrence, Jenny De Leon, Angel Naira, Danyale Johnson, Cris Blehar and Nikai David.

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