Another black gay youth has been gunned down in Fort Lauderdale. Shanesa Conaway, 22, was shot to death on April 26 during a domestic dispute between her partner, Shameca Davis and Kevin Cartwright, the father of Davis' two children.
Conaway and Davis had a commitment ceremony on Valentines this year and had been raising Davis's two children together. Witnesses and family members say that one of the big issues Cartwright had with Davis was her relationship with Conaway. Police are not investigating this as a hate crime, however, but as a domestic dispute.
The shooting occurred only blocks away from where Simmie Williams, an openly gay teen, was killed in February. The shooting has again brought attention to the need for the LGBT community and the Black community to come together in open dialogue in South Florida and around the country.
"I don't think there has been enough outcry in the community about this," Marsha Ellison, president of the Broward NAACP, said. "We don't want to talk about it. We don't want to acknowledge that gay people exist."
Denise King, mother of Simmie Williams, is involved in the efforts to organize a unity march that would bring together both communities. The South Florida LGBT community has become increasingly galvanized and unified in recent times, in response to both Mayor Naugle of Fort Lauderdale and the recent string of anti-gay hate crimes in the area.
Both Conaway and Williams were young, open, and dressed against "gender norms". These murders again highlight the need to reach out to vulnerable minority LGBT youth across the country. The statistics clearly show that the majority of those that suffer from violence are young, minority, gender variant members of the LGBT community.
This was not just a domestic dispute, but the direct result of ingrained discrimination and hatred against the LGBT community. It is time we started bridging the gaps between our communities and come together to stop the violence that faces many of our young people.