The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the oldest national organization advocating for the LGBT community, is calling for a state probe of the Nizah Morris case.
In a letter sent to state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane last week, NGLTF noted the high incidence of violence against the LGBT community.
“We believe that such an investigation will ensure that Nizah’s case will receive the thorough investigation that it deserves,” the letter states. “A state probe will also reaffirm the criminal justice system’s commitment to diligently serving the entire Philadelphia community — including LGBT people and families.”
Morris was a transgender woman who became a homicide victim in 2002 shortly after entering a police vehicle for a Center City “courtesy ride.” The city’s Police Advisory Commission described the local investigation as “appalling.” But so far, Kane hasn’t agreed to investigate the case.
NGLTF’s letter notes that “Nizah’s homicide remains unsolved, and like so many other transgender Americans, Nizah and her family have not received the justice that they deserve.”
Kylar W. Broadus, NGLTF’s senior policy counsel, said violence against transgender people is pervasive, particularly transgender women of color.
“These murders have to stop,” Broadus told PGN. “We must look everywhere and do everything possible to solve these crimes, and send a clear message that it’s not OK to kill transwomen of color.”
He also expressed the need for more preventive measures to avoid violence against the LGBT community.
“We have to try to do everything within our power to prevent this violence from occurring in the first place,” he continued. “It’s my personal mission.”
Other groups calling for a state probe of the Morris case include the Philadelphia chapter of the ACLU, Mazzoni Center, GLAAD, the Eighth Ward Democratic Committee, Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality, state and local chapters of the National Organization for Women, Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia, GALAEI: A Latin@ Social Justice Organization, Equality Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, William Way LGBT Center, LGBT Elder Initiative, Project SAFE, Keystone Progress and the Philadelphia chapter of Sex Workers Outreach Project.
The next meeting of the J4N committee is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the William Way LGBT Center, 1315 Spruce St. The public is invited to attend.
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