On Aug. 30, Valerie Griffin celebrated the life of her daughterDejanay Stanton, a trans woman of colorwith an annual summer get-together billed as "The Main Event Part 2."
The event, in its second year, was also aimed at shining a spotlight on trans lives that have been lost while promoting awareness and resources for victims of violence. Family members and friends celebrated Stanton's life and the event was presented with Center on Halsted's Anti-Violence Project.
The event took place in a community garden on the corner of 6951 S. Dorchester Ave., and included gift bags, a small buffet and a raffle.
Stanton, who was 24 at the time of her passing, was allegedly murdered by 17-year-old Tremon T. Hill at 4000 S. Calumet Ave. on Aug., 30 2018.
Griffin said, "It's a real shame that these men are killing these girls. I've been struggling with this for two years and each year on the thirtieth of August I'm going to keep throwing this event." She also said, "What these ( young trans ) women need is to walk into their lives, they need more than their outside friends, they need their families with them." At present Griffin is partnering with The Anti-Violence Project and anti-violence activist Dawn Valenti to create an organization called Mothers of Murdered People.
Anti-Violence Project Director Caitlin Tupper said when she spoke, "I am thankful that we have been able to be connected with Valerie Griffin for the angel-versary of the beautiful and vivacious Dejanay Stanton. Valerie's deep and transcendent love for her daughter is why we are all here today.
"This year, we have seen unprecedented rates of violence and murder of the trans community. This is an epidemic and it must be stopped. We cannot become complacent or erase their stories."
Tupper then read the list of trans murder victims killed across the nation so far in 2020. The names included Dustin Parker, Selena Ramos, Alexa Ruiz, Monica Diamond, Lexi, Johanna Metzger, Layla Sanchez, Penelope Diaz Ramirez, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Dominique Fells, Riah Milton, Jayne Thompson, Selena Reyes-Hernandez, Brian "Egypt" Powers, Brayla Stone, Merci Mack, Shaki Peters, Bree Black, Tatiana Hall, Summer Taylor and Draya MaCarty.
Griffin said, "There is a story behind every name. ... These were people who had [lives] and dreams..."
More information regarding the Mothers of Murdered Trans People ( MOMT ) and The Anti-Violence Project can be found at, respectively, www.facebook.com/momtrans/ and CenterOnHalsted.org/AVP.html .