Black, cis-femme, queer who likes the occasional comic book, feminism, anti-racist, anti-oppressive theory. Also enjoys poetry, my hair, a slew of fandoms, and impromptu jam sessions. What I lack in wit I make up for in nerdiness.
On July 17, Dwight R. DeLee was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of 22-year-old Lateisha Green in Syracuse, New York. On August 18, DeLee will be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison for his role in the killing. TLDEF staff members are currently en route to Syracuse. We’ll once again be blogging and posting Twitter and Facebook updates about developments on the ground at the sentencing.
The image you see in this message is from Essence magazine’s recent coverage of Lateisha’s story. When we first began working with Lateisha’s family after her death last year, they asked us to help ensure that her death would not be in vain, and that people would learn something from their tragic loss. We’re very proud - and Lateisha’s family is very proud - that Essence has chosen to feature Lateisha’s story. Essence occupies a special place in the hearts of millions of Black women. Since it was launched in 1970, Essence has become a cultural institution in the African-American community. By speaking out about Lateisha’s story, Lateisha’s family is connecting with audiences that might otherwise never have heard about her life or death as a transgender woman. From the Associated Press to the Los Angeles Times, and now to Essence, Lateisha’s story is touching the hearts and minds of millions of people who probably knew very little about the continuing violence that affects the daily lives of transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We’re grateful to Lateisha’s family for speaking out, and we’re grateful to our friends at GLAAD, whose expertise helped to keep this story alive for millions of people.
If you’re not familiar with Lateisha’s story, you can learn about it by reading the following articles and blog postings on our web site. They’re chock full of information, photos and videos, and we think they’re well worth your time:
Please continue to send personal notes of encouragement to Lateisha’s family during this difficult time. You can email correspondence by clicking here. We can’t guarantee the family will be able to reply to your emails, but we know that they’ll read them and that they appreciate everyone’s support. Please write!
For final updates from the sentencing, stay tuned to all of the following sources:
As a final note, thank you for your support of the work we’ve been doing on this case. Your notes of encouragement motivate us to pursue our work for equal rights. We always welcome your input, and encourage you to continue to contact us. Thank you.
Now, the breaking news update on Lateisha’s killer, Dwight DeLee, and a possible reinstatement of their hate crime conviction, courtesy of The Advocate.
On Wednesday, a crowd gathered outside the New York Court of Appeals in support of Lateisha Green, a 22-year-old trans woman murdered in Syracuse, N.Y. in 2008. The court is ruling this week on whether it will reinstate a hate crime conviction against her alleged killer, Dwight DeLee, reportsGLAAD.
DeLee, then 20, allegedly shot Green after uttering antigay slurs, and was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime in 2009. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in what was New York’s first hate crime conviction in the killing of a transgender person, noted Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund executive director Michael Silverman.
However, the conviction was set aside by the New York State Fourth Appellate Division in July 2013 after the court declared the original verdict “inconsistent”: The jury had failed to find DeLee guilty of manslaughter first, and then guilty of a hate crime, and the presiding judge failed to make them aware of this.
After the verdict was thrown out, DeLee was set free. Shortly thereafter, the TLDEF, Lambda Legal, Empire State Pride Agenda, the NYU School of Law and several other organizations filed an amicus brief urging the New York Court of Appeals to reinstate DeLee’s conviction, according to GLAAD.
"I was devastated. I couldn’t believe it," Lateisha’s mother, Roxane Green, recalled of the decision in astatement. “I had lived through the agony of seeing my child die, having to choose the clothes to bury her in, waking up everyday to the horrible reality that she was gone. … Now I have to go back through that experience all over again.
"It’s so unfair to me, my family and community, and to every transgender woman who lives in fear of hateful violence happening to her, but especially to Lateisha. She was a beautiful, loving spirit who was expressing herself as who she was. And for that, she was targeted by a man who has been released."
Advocates pointed out that it seemed clear the jury sought to convict DeLee to the full extent of the law by virtue of declaring the murder a hate crime, making his release on a wording technicality all the more serious.
In Black Sexual Politics, one of America’s most influential writers on race and gender explores how images of Black sexuality have been used to maintain the color line and how they threaten to spread a new brand of racism around the world today.
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