In Remembrance (2014)

TW: suicide, murder, anti-LGBT violence.

This is the list of people whose stories I am electing to spotlight specifically during the Week of Action – there are 189 people on the “official list” for 2014, but I also encourage you to recognize anyone whose story has meaning to you. Some are suicide victims. Some are hate crime victims. Some are LGBT people whose murders are unsolved. Others have an entirely different story to tell. All faced a world that is often hostile and violent toward LGBT people and those perceived to be LGBT. They were not the first of their kind and they will not be the last, and the fact that there are so many highlights just how much work is still to be done.

2014 is a milestone anniversary for 17 individuals on this list: Samantha Johnson (5), Tyli’a Mack (5) Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado (5), Kamilla (5), Ian Baynham (5), Jaheem Herrera (5), Carl Walker-Hoover (5), August Provost (5), Brian Williamson (10), Scotty Joe Weaver (10), Dano Fetty (10), FannyAnn Eddy (10), Steen Fenrich (15), Gary Matson (15), Winfield Mowder (15), Barry Winchell (15), and Charlie Howard (30).

Red (Life)
Andrew Anthos
Gwen Araujo
Bill Bailey
Paige Clay
Kyra Cordova
Amancio Corrales
Ukea Davis
CeCe Dove
Lorena Escalera
Steen Fenrich
Sakia Gunn
Erika Keels
Leon Maples
Fred Martinez Jr.
Rafael Morelos
Ncumisa Mzamelo
Islan Nettles
Domonique Newburn
Chanelle Pickett
Cathy Thomas
Eddie Warren
Inez Warren
James Warren
Carmen White
Diamond Williams
Brian Williamson

Orange (Healing)
Grayce Baxter
Raymond Buys
Eric Calitz
Tyler Clementi
Lateisha Green
Bobby Griffith
Rita Hester
Tyra Hunter
Samantha Johnson
Tyli’a Mack
Konyale Madden
Brandy Martell
Clarence McCloskey Jr.
Lucy Meadows
Nizah Morris
Thanh Nguyen
Phumeza Nkolonzi
Phillip Parker
Jack Reese
Matthew Shepard
Betty Skinner
Vlad Tornovoi
Nicolas Van Der Walt
Juana Vega
Perry Waters Jr.
Nick West

Yellow (Sunshine)
Justin Aaberg
Luther Boggs
Asher Brown
Lawrence Corrêa Biancão
Taysia Elzy
Jeffrey Fehr
Nicole Galisteu
Skip Getchell Jr.
John Golding Sr.
Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar
Glenn Green
Sean Kennedy
Larry King
January Lapuz
Fred Mangione
Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado
Mitch Mitchell
Eric Mohat
Eyricka Morgan
Michael Sandy
Laryssa Silveira
Ryan Skipper
Seth Walsh
Scotty Joe Weaver
Kenneth Weishuhn Jr.
Simmie Williams Jr.

Green (Nature)
Ian Baynham
Ramazan Cetin
Bill Clayton
Dominic Crouch
Shirley Hauser
Jaheem Herrera
Talana Kreeger
Chloe Lacey
Thapelo Makutle
Patricia Mashigo
Gary Matson
Andritha Morifi
Winfield Mowder
Allen Schindler Jr.
Eudy Simelane
Sihle Skotshi
Emonie Spaulding
Sheila Viegas Silva
Carlos Vigil
Carl Walker-Hoover
Rebecca Wight
Julie Williams
Lollie Winans
Duduzile Zozo

Blue (Serenity/Harmony)
Reggie Adams
Kaique Batista dos Santos
Hugh Cooley
Jody Dobrowski
Brandon Elizares
Roxanne Ellis
Dano Fetty
Adam Fontenot
David Gary
Tiffany Gooden
Ken Harrington
Charlie Howard
Nireah Johnson
Ayden Keenan-Olsen
Bill Larson
Bobby Lumpkin
Cameron McWilliams
Zoliswa Nkonyana
Mollie Olgin
Danny Overstreet
Josh Pacheco
August Provost
Sanesha Stewart
Brandon Teena
Stephanie Thomas
Coko Williams
Barry Winchell

Purple (Spirit)
Michelle Abdill
Jadin Bell
Tiffany Berry
Eric James Borges
Horace Broussard
Mark Carson
Becky Dowski
FannyAnn Eddy
Bella Evangelista
Esmeralda Garcia Retes
Jim Hambrick
Jamie Hubley
Duanna Johnson
Corey Jones
Deoni Jones
Dwayne Jones
Brittany Kidd-Stergis
Chanel Larkin
Landon Lopez-Brandies
Cecilia Marahouse
Bud Matyi
Noxolo Nogwaza
Dora Özer
Jamey Rodemeyer
Agnes Torres Sulca
Nikki Williams
Angie Zapata

Rainbow (Hope/Promise)
UpStairs Lounge Unknown #1
UpStairs Lounge Unknown #2
UpStairs Lounge Unknown #3
Joe Adams
Guy Andersen
Dalva Dalvanei Alves Pereira
Demetrio Apaza Mayta
Thalia Batista Mendes
Britney Crosby
Victoria da Silva Costa
Marcio Sergio de Lima
Guilherme de Souza
Donald Dunbar
Gerry Gordon
John Lloyd Griffin
Crystal Jackson
Ferris LeBlanc
Puja Mondal
Bobby Saha
Gisberta Salce Jr.
Isa Shakhmarli
Larry Stratton
Tommy Lee Trimble
Doug Williams Jr.
Cassandra Zapata

*Note: B.B. is a youth who recently committed suicide allegedly due to bullying. Because nothing has been confirmed and his death was so recent, he will be referred to only as “B.B.” for privacy reasons.

Author: Meg

The Stories Project: Christine Thomas’s Story

Christine Thomas was a friend and peer of Rebecca Wight at Virginia Tech who remembers her for her infectious optimism and zest for life. All words below are hers unless specified otherwise.

TW: death, murder.

Rebecca Wight was such a lovely soul and I regret not getting to know her better before she died. We attended Tech together; she was a bit younger than me but we ran in some of the same circles. We were both broke college students just trying to make it at the time, so I guess there was that! What I remember most about her was that she was always so full of life. Oodles of energy! She could talk so much about the things she was passionate about. And she never seemed daunted by life’s setbacks; she always carried herself like she knew it would all work out for her. She was so optimistic and had a great outlook on life, just a lovely, fun person to be around.

When Rebecca died, I found out because the girl I was sharing an apartment with was a mutual friend. It was late at night and she was in the living room reading the paper; I was in the kitchen. She called out to me – she said something like, “Chris, you’ve got to come see this” and then she showed me the paper. Twenty-eight-year-old Virginia Tech student Rebecca Wight shot and killed by an unknown gunman. We couldn’t believe it. I don’t remember being surprised when it came out that she was gay (I don’t mean that in a bad way – someone being gay just wasn’t a “big revelation” for me), but when it came out that it was anti-gay violence, that was scary. I’m not a lesbian, but I had friends who were and I know I worried about them more after this.

I think the memories I have of her are so clear because her death was so jarring. Rebecca was the first person I knew who was murdered and it was jarring to me, even though we’d never been especially close. I remember reading this article later where they described the guy who killed her as an artist and a nature lover and that made me so mad at that time. I was like, “What about Rebecca? She was the victim; why doesn’t anyone care what Rebecca was like?” I mean, she was a nature lover, too – who gives a damn about the killer?

I didn’t realize how much I missed her until I started reading these stories and all the memories came flooding back. No doubt the world is missing out by not having her in it – she would have done incredible things.

Edit (1/2015): Christine found this photo of Rebecca and asked that it be added to her story after being asked what she looked like. She doesn’t remember who took it or how it came into her possession and asks that if that person is reading, they let her know so she can credit them or remove the photo.

rebecca 1