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Family and friends of slain Black trans woman Kenyatta Webster demand justice: ‘She was loved’

Maggie Baska April 10, 2022
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Kenyatta 'Kesha' Webster, a Black trans woman, poses for a selfie in what appears to be a car while wearing a white top

Kenyatta Webster, who also went by "Kesha", was tragically found dead in Jackson, Mississippi on 26 March. (Human Rights Campaign)

The mother of Black trans woman Kenyatta Webster is calling for justice after her daughter was found dead in a suspected “robbery homicide”, which has yet to be confirmed by authorities. 

Family members told WLBT that Webster, who also went by “Kesha”, was found dead on Charleston Drive in Jackson, Mississippi, on 26 March. Webster’s mother Sharon Taylor said in an interview with WJTV that the family was “riding around motel to motel” looking for her child before discovering the horrific news. 

She told the outlet that Webster’s death was a “robbery homicide”. The Jackson Police are currently investigating Kenyatta’s death but have not made any details about the investigation public. 

More than 100 people attended a balloon release and memorial vigil honouring Webster’s life in Jackson on 1 April, with many wearing Webster’s favourite colours – pink and purple. 

During the event, Taylor made an impassioned speech calling on the community to help find justice for her daughter. 

“Everybody share it all on Facebook. All over Facebook,” she said. “Let it go out because I want justice for my baby because she was loved.”

Taylor continued: “She had plenty of love. She didn’t deserve that. 

“She ain’t no dog, no rag or dirt. She’s gonna get justice.”

Kenyatta Webster worked in retail after graduating from Callaway High School, according to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. She also travelled frequently throughout the South and had recently celebrated her 24th birthday back in February. 

Webster is at least the ninth trans person or gender non-conforming person to have been killed in 2022, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). However, the LGBT+ rights organisation said that, sadly all too often, deaths go unreported or misreported.

Last year was the deadliest year on record for the trans community in the USA as an “epidemic of violence” against trans people swept across the nation.

Tori Cooper, the HRC’s director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said that Webster “should have had more time” as she was all too young when she was tragically taken from this world. 

“Her mother’s grief that has led to calls for justice must be heard, and her miraculous life must be remembered,” Cooper said. 

“During her life, she spread messages of hope online, and it is my hope that in her memory we can transform hope into action to protect young Black transgender women from senseless violence so they may live long and beautiful lives.”

The Jackson Police investigators can be reached at (601) 960-1217 for any tips about Webster’s death. 

The community has mourned across 2022: Amariey Lej, Duval PrincessCypress RamosNaomie SkinnerMatthew Angelo SpampinatoPaloma VazquezTatiana Labelle and Kathryn “Katie” Newhouse.

 

More: Mississippi, transphobia

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