In a tragic and heartbreaking incident, a Black transgender woman, Jasmine “Star” Mack, was brutally stabbed to death in Washington D.C on Saturday. This marks the first reported case of a violent death of a trans person in the United States in 2023. According to a police report, Mack was found in an unconscious state with an apparent stab wound to her right leg on the 2000 block of Gallaudet Street, N.E. She was pronounced dead at 3:10 a.m.
The Washington D.C police department has classified her death as a homicide, and are currently investigating the case. The reason behind her presence in the area at the time of her death is still unclear. Mack currently had no fixed address, and the last known address for her was located a mile away. Jasmine “Star” Mack is remembered fondly by her loved ones, as a person who loved everyone and always had a high spirit. Her sister Pamela Witherspoon said, “She loved everybody… Most of all, I’m going to miss her saying ‘I love you sister, I love you’”. In a heartfelt message to the killer, Witherspoon forgave them but urged them to turn themselves in.
Trans activist Earline Budd knew Mack as a client of HIPS, a social services organization. She described her as “one for the books”, high-spirited and “would always keep you laughing”. The Ivy City neighborhood, where Mack’s body was found, is known for both warehouses and residences. And it’s located just two blocks from a popular enclave of nightclubs, where some business owners have complained about crime. Mohammad Mobaidin, who runs a mosque in the neighborhood, said Mack would often visit the mosque when they were distributing food and clothing. He described her as “very polite and would thank us, say ‘God bless you’ and all of that”, adding “She was really, really nice, polite, and I don’t think she deserved what happened to her.”
The police department has urged anyone with information about the crime to contact them at (202) 727-9099 or submit a tip anonymously by texting 50411. A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in a homicide case in D.C. As per the data available for the year 2022, at least 36 trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming people died violently in the United States. This is a reminder that the transgender community is still facing discrimination and violence on a daily basis, and that more needs to be done to protect them.