Metro Weekly

Vigil Held in Memory of Jasmine Starr Parker, Slain D.C. Trans Woman

Police have not yet made any arrests in the fatal stabbing, or released information about a possible motive.

Poster at vigil honoring Jasmine Starr Parker – Photo: WUSA9.

Community members rallied on Monday afternoon to remember a transgender woman who died after being stabbed earlier this month in Northeast D.C.

A group consisting of friends, family, and fellow D.C. residents gathered at the corner of Gallaudet Street NE and Providence Street NE, in the Ivy City neighborhood, to remember Jasmine Starr Parker, who was 36 when she was murdered on Jan. 7. 

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, police were flagged down in the 2000 block of Gallaudet Street NE, in between Gallaudet University’s campus and Mt. Olivet Cemetery around 3 a.m. on Jan. 7. Upon arriving on scene, they found Parker on the ground, unresponsive, suffering from a stab wound to her leg. Parker was declared dead at the scene.

Earline Budd, a longtime transgender rights activist and case management specialist at the nonprofit HIPS, Inc., who knew Parker as both a friend and as her caseworker, was one of the chief organizers of the vigil. She recalled Parker’s love for food, singing, and fashion.

“I loved her dearly,” Budd told D.C. CBS affiliate WUSA9. “She was someone who deserved so much more than what she got.”

Kenya Hutton, the deputy director of the Center for Black Equity, also spoke at the vigil, according to DCist. Hutton denounced the recent national spike in violence agains transgender people, especially trans women of color, who comprised the overwhelming majority of victims of anti-trans violence over the past two years.

“Walking the streets should not mean risking your life. Going to the store should not mean that you could be taken down,” Hutton said. “It’s not being called a hate crime. Well, we know what it was. Starr should be here today.”

Japer Bowles, the director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, told Parker’s family members that he was sorry for her death and pledged to do more to assist members of the transgender community who are vulnerable.

“Circumstances should not have put Starr and many members of the community that we see in the danger that they are in, and that is a failure from where I’m at in my job,” Bowles said. “We have to do more. I promise we will do more.”

Pamela Witherspoon, Parker’s sister, said she appreciated the show of support from the local community. She recalled her sister as jolly, happy, and “always singing and dancing — just trying to make you laugh.” She also said she couldn’t understand why anyone would hurt her sister.

“She wasn’t the type of person that did things to people. I don’t understand why. What did she do to deserve this? I’ll never understand that,” Witherspoon said.

Witherspoon told WUSA9 that she and her family forgive the person who took Parker’s life, but hopes they turn themselves in.

“We forgive them, but turn themselves in,” she said. “You know you did wrong but turn yourself in.”

Thus far, no arrests have been made in the case, and investigators have not released information about a possible motive in the case.

The Metropolitan Police Department currently offer a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for a homicide in the District of Columbia. Anyone who may information related to the case or the people involved should call police at 202-727-9099 or text the department’s tip line by sending a text message to 50411.

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