NCAVP mourns the killing of queer youth of color Jessie Hernandez; Calls for national awareness on police violence facing LGBTQ people of color
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) is deeply alarmed by the killing of an unarmed queer Latin@ youth, Jessie Hernandez, age 17, by police in Denver, Colorado. According to media reports, Jessie Hernandez was allegedly driving a stolen car on Monday, January 26th , when police responded to a call about suspicious activity in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood. Media is reporting that police allege that Hernandez struck an officer with the vehicle, which prompted police to open fire on the car filed with five unarmed teenagers. The four other teenagers, who were taken into custody, allege that officers searched and cuffed Hernandez’s body after they were shot. Media is reporting that one of the young people inside the vehicle has said that Hernandez was shot first, and then lost control of the car which subsequently hit the officer, fracturing his leg.
According to NCAVP’s most recent report, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2013, Latin@ LGBTQ survivors of violence were 1.5 times more likely to experience police violence when compared to other survivors.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic, unnecessary death of Jessie Hernandez,” said Osman Ahmed, NCAVP’s Research and Education Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “Too often LGBTQ people of color are marginalized in the national conversation about police violence against people of color. Jessie Hernandez’s death is a tragic reminder that LGBTQ people of color constantly experience police violence and criminalization by law enforcement. We must engage the current movement against police violence and brutality to include the leadership, voices, and stories of LGBTQ people of color, especially LGBTQ youth of color. ”
NCAVP is working with local member program, the Colorado Anti-Violence Program (CAVP), to raise awareness of this homicide and to support the local communities affected by this violence. The Colorado Anti-Violence Program will continue to organize on the ground locally to hold Denver Police accountable and support the friends and family of Jessie Hernandez.
"We are disgusted by the media’s coverage and victim shaming of the ending of a young queer brown person’s life in our community," said Cecelia Kluding-Rodriguez, at CAVP's youth-led organizing project, Branching Seedz of Resistance (BSEEDZ). “BSEEDZ recognizes Jessie’s case as direct result of the pattern of police violence that targets queer and gender non-conforming young people of color in the U.S. BSEEDZ stands in full solidarity with Jessie’s family who is demanding an independent autopsy of Jessie’s body. BSEEDZ and CAVP will also continue to support local organizing efforts to end all of Denver Police Department's widely condemned practices including the practice of shooting at moving vehicles, which has resulted in 4 deaths or serious injuries in the last few months.”
NCAVP is a resource for anyone who experiences violence. For more information, or to locate an antiviolence program in your area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit us online. Join NCAVP in our efforts to prevent and respond to LGBTQ and HIV-affected violence. To learn more about our national advocacy and receive technical assistance or support, contact us at email@example.com
If you are a member of the media, please contact: Eleanor Dewey, Colorado Anti-Violence Program: firstname.lastname@example.org
or 303-839-5204 ext. 1 (English) Mimi Madrid, Colorado Anti-Violence Program: email@example.com
720-621-2332 (Spanish) Sue Yacka, New York City Anti-Violence Project: firstname.lastname@example.org
or 212-714-1184 NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.