A transgender woman was sitting on a bench in a Los Angeles park on October 4 when she was ambushed by four people who voiced anti-LGBTQ slurs at her and stabbed her repeatedly, leaving her fighting for her life.
Daniela Hernandez, who came to the US three years ago according to the Los Angeles Times, was hospitalized with serious injuries after the sudden attack unfolded at around 9 p.m. on that Sunday evening in MacArthur Park. The assailants allegedly stabbed her 16 times and slashed her throat, according to ABC 7 Los Angeles, which reported that authorities are searching for four suspects — three men and one woman.
Los Angeles police did not immediately respond to an email seeking information on the status of Hernandez’s case, but ABC 7 noted that authorities are poised to charge attackers with assault with a deadly weapon as a hate crime. It is not clear whether the attackers knew Hernandez.
Hernandez has served as a volunteer for the TransLatin@ Coalition, a grassroots organization dedicated to addressing the needs of transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex immigrants in Los Angeles. The organization held a demonstration in support of Hernandez at MacArthur Park on October 5.
“It is unbelievable that there is no compassion for members of our community in the midst of this global pandemic,” Bamby Salcedo, the organization’s president, said in a written statement. “I do not get why people continue to have this kind of hate toward our community, being that our community is one of the hardest hit from this pandemic. Transphobia is rampant toward our sisters and we need to stop it now!”
The attack came one day after a Black transgender woman was murdered in Augusta, Georgia, marking the 31st known transgender or non-binary individual to suffer a violent death so far this year in the US. That case tied a 2017 record for the most such murders in a single year — with almost three months left in 2020.
The TransLatin@ Coalition described Hernandez as “an integral and valued volunteer” who has worked to provide daily meals to members of the community in need. The organization encourages those who would like to send well wishes to Hernandez to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Letter for Daniela.”
“Too often, the only safe spaces for transgender and gender non-conforming people are in trans-led community spaces, and the act of going outside or to the park can come with huge risks,” the organization said in a press release. “This is why we fight for trans liberation, and liberation for transgender people can look as simple as walking outside without risk of harassment, discrimination, or violence.”
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