How long will we wait for justice?

A Message from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman:

Islan Nettles

Dear friends,

I want to share with you an op-ed that I wrote that appeared in the Sunday edition of the New York Daily News. Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Islan Nettles’ death. Islan was a 21-year-old African-American transgender woman from Harlem who was pursuing a career in the fashion industry. She lost her life to violence and hate here in New York City on August 17, 2013.

Yet a year after her death, no one has been prosecuted. And the police and District Attorney – despite stating that they are “aggressively investigating” Islan’s death – have not clearly explained why the investigation of a killing that took place in front of witnesses and near a police station has yielded no tangible results. To many, the investigation appears to have lost steam.

You can read the full op-ed here. I wrote a number of things, including this: “For the transgender community, scarred by a long and difficult history of violence and an often uneasy relationship with law enforcement, the vacuum of information makes reasonable community members question whether resources are truly being directed towards this investigation.… Transgender people, and transgender women of color in particular, face harassment and violence on a regular basis. All too often, crimes committed against them go unpunished.”

I hope that this op-ed in the Daily News, which reaches hundreds of thousands of readers, will send a strong message to law enforcement in New York City: It is time to redouble their efforts and to be transparent in this investigation. Transgender lives matter. Islan’s life mattered. She deserves justice.

Please help us take action by sharing this piece widely through your social media channels. Thank you for your support.



Michael Silverman
Executive Director