NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Nashville community members gathered on Tuesday night to honor 27 individuals who have been killed by anti-transgender violence in Tennessee since 1999. Forty-six individuals were killed in the United States in 2020.
The International Transgender Day of Remembrance has been recognized since 1999 to memorialize those killed as a result of anti-transgender violence.
One by one the names of transgender and nonbinary people were read inside Wightman Chapel at Scarritt Bennett Center.
"Today is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance; We've been doing these ceremonies for over 20 years," said Marisa Richmond. "This is our 20th consecutive year for Nashville."
Richmond says she hopes one day the violence against those in the transgender community will stop and this tradition to remember them will end.
"Our community has been a victim of hate violence for many, many years and those of us who are Black, or brown are particularly at risk, and we feel that we're having an epidemic of violence and we've had over 40 murders just in the U.S. alone in the past year, since last year ceremony," said Richmond.
Richmond, who is a member of the Metro Human Relations Commission, says this year has been one of the deadliest in history for the country.
"We hope we don't have to come back and remember any more names, but again, this year, we're commemorating 46 victims, and that's the greatest number within the U.S. ever," said Richmond.
People packed inside the sanctuary carrying a program and a white rose to speak life back into so many who no longer have a voice.
"What we've been trying to do is highlight the hatred to highlight the violence. People trying to erase us from society, and we feel that we have a place in society that we can and should be able to contribute in all walks of life," Richmond said.
Richmond says it takes the entire community coming together to stand up against hate.
"We stand united to remember those we have lost and to commit ourselves to continuing to fight until the violence is over," she said
Part of the service highlighted the life of Poe Black, a 21-year-old transgender man killed in California in May. Black was originally from Nashville.