Black, transgender woman murdered in Kentucky

It is only the beginning of February, and there is already another violent killing of a Black trans woman. An immigrant from Rwanda, Africa, Imanitwitaho Zachee (pronounced Za-shay), known as Zachee to friends, was shot and killed outside of the JBS Foods plant where she worked on Feb. 3.

Police say the gunman and Zachee’s coworker, Edilberto Lores Reyes, confessed to killing her. There is no known motive for the murder and police are still investigating.

Zachee is possibly the fifth of trans and GNC folks in America to die due to violence in 2023, according to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, a blog that documents anti-trans violence. The blog goes on to state, “She is the fourth trans woman. She is the second Black trans woman, the first trans woman of African heritage, and the fourth BIPOC. Zachee is the second immigrant. Her death means a trans person has reportedly died a violent death every 6.8 days in 2023. That we know of because many of these crimes go unreported.”

“Too often we know that trans folks die at the hands of people who are doing it out of prejudice and hate,” said Chris Hartman of the Fairness Campaign to WLKY. “The vast majority of trans women who are murdered are Black trans women; nearly 70% each year.”

Lores Reyes is being held on a $100,000 bond. He is due back in court on Feb. 13.

If anyone would like to donate to the family’s gofundme page, that can be found here.


More than a dozen Louisville advocacy and support groups have joined together to hold a candlelight vigil to honor the life of Zachee (pronounced Za-shay) Imanitwitaho, a Black transgender woman and immigrant murdered last Friday in Louisville.

The groups will hold silent and respectful space outside the W.T. Shumake and Daughters funeral home, where Zachee’s family and friend will be gathered for her visitation.

Each year dozens of transgender people are murdered in America. Most victims are Black transgender woman. According to the Human Rights Campaign, Zachee is the fourth transgender victim of fatal violence in 2023.

In Kentucky, the General Assembly has already introduced five bills targeting the transgender community for discrimination. Currently the ACLU is tracking 272 anti-LGBTQ bills in state legislatures across the country.

WHAT:Candlelight Vigil for Zachee Imanitwitaho

WHEN: Thursday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m. ET

WHERE: W.T. Shumake and Daughters Funeral Home

3815 Newburg Road, Louisville, 40218

WHO: ACLU of Kentucky

Fairness Campaign

Fem Club

Kentucky Health Justice Network

Kentucky Transgender Support Group
Louisville Metro Office of Equity

Louisville Metro Office for Women

Louisville Pride Center

Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (LSURJ)

Louisville Transmasculine Alliance

Non-Binary Collective Kentuckiana

Queer Kentucky

Transcending Stigma

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