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Black trans woman Amarey Lej killed in Pennsylvania

A person identified by a local Trans activist and support group SisTers PGH as Amarey Lej, a 21-year-old Black trans woman

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Photo courtesy Facebook, SisTers PGH

WILKINSBURG, Pa. – Homicide detectives in Allegheny County are investigating the shooting death of a person identified by a local Trans activist and support group SisTers PGH as Amarey Lej, a 21-year-old Black trans woman.

CBS News Pittsburgh affiliate KDKA 2 reported that police say they responded to 1300 block of Wood Street around 6 a.m. Saturday morning, New Year’s Day in this suburban Pittsburgh borough for reports of a woman lying in the street. Police said she had suffered a fatal gunshot wound.

“Amarey was a bright woman and former student at Woodland Hills. We at SisTers PGH would like to send her fellow classmates our deepest condolences, but also our deepest gratitude, as you rose in protection of Amarey when she needed it most,” SisTers PGH said in a statement on Facebook.

Pittsburgh’s independent press outlet, The Pittsburgh City Paper noted:

Lej, who is also known as Myara, is one of at least a half dozen trans people of color to die untimely deaths over the last 12 months in the Pittsburgh region. Chyna Carrillo was killed in Lawrence County, an hour north of Pittsburgh, on Feb. 18, 2021 and siblings Jasmine Cannady and Jeffrey “JJ” Bright were killed in Ambridge, just 30 minutes from the city, on Feb. 22, 2021. Audura Belle also died earlier the same month due to lack of health care, according to statements from her friends and family. Angel Naira was killed in Aliquippa in November.”

Nationally this past year with 50 deaths of Trans people, especially of color, was the worst year yet in violence perpetuated against Trans Americans the Human Rights Campaign, which tracks the data recorded.

“Amarey was not the first, but it is up to every one of us to fight like hell to make sure she is the last,” reads the statement from SisTers PGH. “This is our time, as trans people and activists, to gather and engage in conversations regarding safety and policy. It is our time to demand not only justice for Amarey, but for all of us.”

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