FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2018
Aaron Eckhardt, Interim Executive Director
(614) 294-7867 | firstname.lastname@example.org
BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization) responds to the homicide of Phylicia Mitchell, a 45-year-old transgender woman of color killed in Cleveland, Ohio on February 26, 2018.
Reports indicate Phylicia was found dead in her home located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. BRAVO is working with Cleveland area organizations and individuals throughout Ohio to offer our assistance. “Our hearts, minds and condolences are with Phylicia’s chosen family, friends, and community in this time of tragedy. We at BRAVO are saddened and outraged as our communities continue to be targeted, and we remain steadfast in providing services to the LGBTQI communities of Ohio. We must continue to come together as a broad community of support until hate has no home in Ohio, until hate has no home anywhere,” says Aaron Eckhardt, Interim Executive Director of BRAVO.
According to media sources, Cleveland Police has not released information about the motivation or identified a suspect at this time. Her longtime partner, Shane Mitchell has told media sources that he thinks Phylicia’s death was drug-related. At BRAVO we recognize even when no motive or incomplete motive is known, the possibility of hate motivation based on gender identity must always be considered. Especially given the ongoing prevalence of violence faced by transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people living here in Ohio and nationwide.
The homicide of Phylicia Mitchell marks the fifth homicide of a transgender person murdered in 2018. Eckhardt added, “2017 was the deadliest year on recorded for single incident anti-LGBTQ homicides since data collection began. This is a critical time, we have to acknowledge and continue to take action to combat this epidemic of hate and bias violence. We call on all systems of government, and the community to commit more resources to resist and reduce violence in Ohio and the nation.”
According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ (NCAVP) report, A Crisis of Hate, 52 anti-LGBTQ single incident homicides in 2017 an 86% increase from 2017. Tragically for the past five-years, transgender women of color are the most impacted by violence and homicide among the LGBTQ communities.
“We at BRAVO know that the reality of hate violence is intended to instill a message of hate and fear throughout our entire community. Even with the increase in reporting, it is still true that hate violence incidents largely go under-reported, or not reported at all. No one should have to go through this alone, said Debé Turnbull, Board President of BRAVO, “BRAVO can help.”
BRAVO encourages anyone who has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence in Ohio to contact us toll free at 866-86-BRAVO or visit our website at http://www.bravo-ohio.org. To learn more about our statewide advocacy, survivor services, receive trainings, and/or support, contact BRAVO. For help locating an anti-violence program in your area, please visit www.ncavp.org.
BRAVO is working in solidarity with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, other organizations, and with all Ohioans as we come together in response to this heinous act of violence.
BRAVO works to eliminate violence perpetrated on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identification, domestic violence, and sexual assault through prevention, education, advocacy, violence documentation, and survivor services, both within and on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities.
BRAVO is a founding member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).