AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – As Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigators look into the death of a woman found in a local park, several people, including those with a national human rights organization suspect foul play because she was transgender.
Garian Henry said she had no words when she learned that her friend Felycya Harris, a transgender woman, was killed.
“I wanted to scream. I wanted to scream because I was very upset,” she replied.
The Richmond County Coroner reported Harris’ death Saturday afternoon. Her body was found at Meadowbrook Park. Authorities are still investigating her death and have not ruled it a Hate Crime. But the Human Rights Campaign has a different story, already marking Harris’ death as the 31st violent killing of a transgender person this year in America.
“The very first thing that came to mind was, ‘oh blank, not again.'”
Those were the words of HRC’s Director of Community Engagement Tori Cooper. The organization reports this death marks the highest number among gender non-conforming people too. And the 33-year-year old Augusta transgender woman looks like many on that list as well.
Cooper added, “Out of the numbers that we’ve reported, 29 of the 31 who have been killed this year are Black. It’s beyond the pale of anything that we can possibly imagine.” Cooper reemphasized that those are people of color.
The President of Augusta Pride shared the following words:
“Augusta Pride sends its thoughts and prayers to Felycya’s family and loved ones and ask that if anyone has information about her death, to contact local authorities.”James Mintz, Augusta Pride President
Henry said her grief is magnified more because she was working on a project with Harris.
“I said I was going to do a stop the violence rally this year and she was on board, she was ready. The violence rally I had was for every form of violence,” she explained.
Henry also said she will carry on that vision, but will always remember how she was immediately drawn to Felycya.
“She had such a vibrant energy about herself. She was positive, she was outspoken and she wasn’t ashamed of who she was.”