Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Remembering, and Celebrating, Angie Zapata

Blogger, activist and all-around LGBT champion Donna Rose (pictured) has a post up at The Bilerico Project recounting Saturday's vigil for Angie Zapata, the young transgender woman who was the victim of a brutal hate crime, in July, in Colorado. Donna, who has also covered Zapata's murder and the subsequent investigation into her death at her own site, The DonnaBlog, writes movingly about the vigil and about celebrating the life of a vibrant young woman who was taken from us far too soon.

On Saturday evening, August 9, a group of over 200 of us came together in Greeley, CO for an evening of celebrating Angie Zapata's life. And, less than a week after she would have turned nineteen, we grieved her death. We were a collection of young and old, trans and ally, local and visitor. We represented a number of organizations who have been involved in the investigation and in supporting the family, and we came as simply ourselves - representing nothing more than our own heartfelt sadness and needing to do something.

And, of course, there was the Zapata family. They were easy to spot in white T-shirts with Angie's photograph on it - her angel eyes buring brightly as though she was still with them. She had several young nieces and nephews who played, oblivious to the reason that we were all there together. She had immediate and extended family, and a group of friends. And her sister and mother were there. All were amazing.

The family gathered on the stage and Angie's sister read a statement and a poem. Many of us cried right along with them as they finished. Speaker after speaker spoke of the need to overcome hate, of the need to speak out against the dehumanizing efforts that lead to these kinds of tragedies. One speaker reminded the group, "Angie wasn't murdered because she was transgender. She was murdered because of someone else's transgender biases and discomforts."

To read Donna's full report, click here. There's also more coverage from the Denver CBS affiliate, online here.

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