Held every year on Nov. 20, the vigil was founded by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor Rita Hester after her murder in Massachusetts on Nov. 28, 1998. Hester's case, like many other incidents of violence against transgender people, remains unsolved. Studies consistently show violence against transgender people remains at staggeringly high levels. According to a 2011 report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program, 40 percent of murders against members of the LGBT community were against transgender women, particularly women of color.
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