Candles on the sidewalk lit up vibrant photos of the late Yahira Nesby, a 33-year-old transgender woman murdered on December 19. Signs read “rest in power” and “never forgotten.” Messages highlighting deadly violence against transgender women were on display.
A crowd of more than 30 members of Nesby’s chosen family, friends, and loved ones gathered in Brownsville on December 23 for a somber candlelight vigil honoring her life outside the apartment building where she was tragically shot and killed less than one week ago. Among those in attendance at the vigil were Public Advocate Jumaane Williams as well as community members and representatives of advocacy groups including the New York City Anti-Violence Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and the DecrimNY coalition.
Coming at the height of the holiday season, Nesby’s death drew the attention and sadness of the wider transgender and non-binary community in New York and beyond. Celebrities like “Pose” star Indya Moore took to Twitter in the hours following her death, writing, “Her name was Yahira Nesby Aka Yaya. My thoughts are with her family. New York fam. Please please please please be watchful and careful of these men. I beg of you.”
Nesby’s death has left the community searching for answers. A man who was fleeing the building at the time of Nesby’s death was initially taken into custody and questioned, but police told Gay City News on December 23 that no arrests had been made despite conflicting news reports on December 20 indicating that there was an arrest. The investigation into Nesby’s death, according to the NYPD, is ongoing.
Trans women of color have been targets of violence nationwide and the Human Rights Campaign had tallied 24 trans or gender non-binary people who had suffered violent deaths this year prior to Nesby’s murder.