A 17-year-old trans girl named Brayla Stone was found dead inside of a car in Little Rock, Arkansas on Thursday. Police are treating the death as a homicide.
In local media reports, Stone continues to be deadnamed and misgendered; Stone’s family has also made an effort to keep her correct name and pronouns from the public.
Someone on social media claimed to have been paid $5000 to kill Stone. The user posted screenshots of a pile of $100 bills and claimed in the comments to have “zipped em for 5k.” They also added transphobic comments about Stone.
The same user later posted that they “didn’t kill nobody” and were just “clout-chasing.” They also said they were only 15 years old themselves.
But Stone’s death, as well as the media’s treatment of the story, is part of a much larger pattern of violence against Black trans women and girls.
“Brayla Stone is the 8th transgender person killed in the last seven days,” David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a statement. “Brayla Stone was seventeen years young when someone murdered her because we live in a society where it is not yet explicit that when we say BlackLivesMatter we mean all Black lives, which includes Black trans women and girls.”
Johns also pointed out that Stone was killed on the anniversary weekend of Stonewall. “Both the continued tragic and often silent loss of Black trans, Black queer, and Black non-binary lives as well as the continued adultification of Black girls should be lost on no one,” he said.
A Change.org petition calling for justice for Stone has over 148,000 signatures as of this writing.
“ALL black lives matter, let’s get justice for Brayla!” the petition reads.
A vigil was held for Stone, a creative teen who enjoyed making experimental music, in Little Rock on Monday night.
“Brayla was someone who always held space for others to be themselves and express their identities,” the Center for Artistic Revolution wrote on Facebook about the vigil.
“Despite the fact that these institutions didn’t support Brayla, it is important that we uplift her memory and dedicate ourselves to seeking justice for her. She was 17 years old and her life was taken far too soon. We must put a stop to the violence against Black trans women. We don’t want another Black trans woman’s death to go unnoticed.”