Angie Zapata is a woman who was murdered in July 2008. I have written about her before. Her alleged murderer, Allen Andrade, is believed to have killed her because she was trans. The jury selection in the trial is set to begin on Tuesday, April 14th.
The video above was made by Angie’s family and friends as a part of a campaign to end the hate that caused someone to brutally take her life. These advertisements, via Questioning Transphobia, were also created by Angie’s family and a coalition of 50 civil rights and anti-violence organizations, and are running in 22 Colorado newspapers. The ads won’t be run in areas where the juror selection pool will be drawn from, so as not to be seen as attempting to influence them, but the aim is to raise awareness of violence against transgender people and encourage the hate to end.
It bears strong noting that Angie Zapata’s is the first murder of a transgender person that will be tried as a hate crime. This is a monumental moment for that reason, and also a highly sobering one — the Transgender Day of Remembrance is held ever year because of the fact that such astonishing numbers of transgender people are murdered as a result of hate. The murders of so many should have been tried this way before. It’s a disgrace that they were not. And now, all we can do is hope for the best in Angie’s case, that the crime will be recognized for the act of hate and bigotry that it was, and that justice will be done.
Angie’s friends and family are asking you to light a candle for her. They don’t mean in your home, though you may choose to do so as well. They mean publicly. Become a fan of the page on Facebook, or a friend on MySpace. Then, change your profile picture to that of a lit candle. It can be one of the ones provided, or you can take a picture of yourself with a candle. It’s up to you. But change it, encourage your friends to do the same, and leave it there until the trial is over (it is currently set to last two weeks). I’ve done it. You can, too. It’s the least that all of us can do. It’s an online vigil, take part.
Also, visit the Angie Zapata website and follow them for updates on Twitter. Put this badge in your own blog sidebar by saving the image, and putting the link to the facebook page around it (idea created by Autumn):
And check out the GLAAD Angie Zapata resource kit to learn more about why national hate crime legislation which protects on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation is desperately needed.
Just do something, anything, and preferably all that you can, to spread the word. This deadly hate has to end.