Transgender woman Shahere “Diamond” Jackson-McDonald was found shot to death in Philadelphia the morning of November 24, Thanksgiving Day.
Jackson-McDonald, 27, was discovered at her mother’s apartment in the Germantown neighborhood, Philadelphia’s NBC affiliate reports. She had been shot several times and was pronounced dead at the scene. It didn’t appear that anyone had forced their way into the apartment.
“We are here today to honor a promising life that was violently ended by a person or persons that Philadelphia Police and our office are working tirelessly to bring to justice, so that they can be held accountable for this crime and are not able to cause any further harm to others,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said at a press conference last week, according to the station. “We are here to say her name: Diamond Jackson-McDonald.”
“I just want the world to know that Diamond was my rock, my shoulder, my child whom I love with every inch of me of what I have left to give,” Linda Jackson, Jackson-McDonald’s mother, said at the press conference. “Whoever you are, you took away my gem, my Diamond, someone whom was all about her family and friends. You tore many hearts, and we will not rest until we get justice. I will not sleep until you are caught. You may not have to answer to me now, but you will have to answer to God. You reap what you sow.”
“It is devastating and heart-wrenching as we mourn the loss of yet another member of our LGBTQ family, Shahere ‘Diamond’ Jackson-McDonald,” said Celena Morrison, executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, according to the Philly Voice. “Violence against transgender people — especially our trans siblings of color — continues to be an epidemic in this country, and it is unacceptable. My office is committed to ensuring that acts of discrimination, bigotry, and hatred are never tolerated in the city of Philadelphia, and we will not stop until all of us are safe and treated with respect and honor.”
Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative, released this statement: “Diamond was a beautiful gem who should still be with us today. All of us — allies and community members alike — grieve with her family and friends. Diamond’s life mattered. We stand with her family and call for justice for Diamond. The epidemic of violence we face as Black transgender women is driven by stigma and hate. And it’s all just because we wish to live our lives. All of us, including allies, have a responsibility to hold the people in our lives accountable for their words because ideologies of hate do in fact lead to violence. It must end.”
Jackson-McDonald’s family has known other tragedies, Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents reports. Twelve relatives — nine children and three adults — died in an apartment fire last January. Her brother died in August. And she was friends with another Black trans woman who died by violence, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, who was killed in Philadelphia in 2020.
“Diamond’s social media is filled with photos of her family and acknowledgment of their impact on her life,” Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents notes. “She celebrated birthdays, honored losses, loved her nieces and nephews, and just poured her heart into all of those relationships. She was fun-loving, bold, and determined. She deserved better than we gave her and that’s on all of us to bear.”
Philadelphia police advised anyone with information on Jackson-McDonald’s death to call 911 or submit a tip by calling (215) 686-TIPS (8477). There’s an option to leave tips anonymously.
Jackson-McDonald is at least the 37th trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming person to die by violence in the U.S. this year. That total includes a trans man and a trans woman killed in the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs November 19 as well as a trans woman, whose name has not been released, who was killed in Vallejo, Calif., last month. That is most likely an undercount, as many of these deaths go unreported or misreported, with victims deadnamed and misgendered. The nation saw a record 57 confirmed violent deaths among this population last year.