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New Jersey Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, Respond to Shooting of Shai Vanderpump, a Black Trans Woman, in Trenton, Nj.

August 5, 2021

The New Jersey chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both grassroots networks of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement today responding to reports that a 23-year-old Black transgender woman, Shai Vanderpump, was found shot and killed inside a home in Trenton, New Jersey. Reports indicate that police discovered Vanderpump in the early morning hours of July 30. 

“The gun violence we see in our daily lives poses a particular threat to the transgender community in our state,” said Teska Frisby, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Shai Vanderpump was an outspoken advocate for her community, and her murder is another tragic reminder of just how important it is to take action against this type of hateful violence. Our hearts are with Shai’s loved ones as we continue the fight to make our communities safe for all New Jerseyans.”

Shai Vanderpump is at least the 32nd homicide death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021. So far in 2021, Everytown has tracked more violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people than ever by this point in the calendar year. 

Last year was the deadliest year on record for transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S., after 38 people were shot and killed. Some trends from 2017 to 2020 that are likely to continue:

  • Guns are the most frequently used weapon in the murder of trans people. Nearly three-fourths of trans people killed in America were killed with a gun.
  • Black trans women account for the majority of homicide victims in the trans community. To put this into perspective, while Black people make up 16% of the trans population, 75% of known trans homicide victims between 2017 and 2020 were Black.

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has tracked homicides of transgender and gender non-comforming people in the U.S since 2017. In addition to breaking down gun violence to the state- and county-level, the EveryStat platform includes a database of known trans or gender non-conforming homicide victims in the United States. As the numbers show, violence against the trans community is closely linked to guns, and 2021 is on track to be the deadliest year on record.

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