Friends, family, and community members gathered Saturday to remember the young transgender woman shot and killed earlier this month in Washington, D.C.
Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds, 22, was shot in the early morning hours of July 4 near her home. After spending nine days on life support, she died Wednesday.
Dodds was well known and liked around her neighborhood.
“This is Dee Dee neighborhood,”Janiyah Littman, one of Dodd’s friends, told WJLA at the vigil. “Everyone knew her.”
She made her living doing sex work, as transgender women sometimes do when discrimination keeps them out of other types of employment. But that work comes with risks.
“They never had a chance. They got bullied out of school. They end up on the street,” Jeri Hughes, a D.C. resident said. “We need to get them into real jobs, where they can make an honest living and get off the streets at night.”
Police have not yet said whether they consider the murder a hate crime. But members of the LGBTQ community are on high alert. And HIPS, a group that supports youth engaged in sex work, said, “MPD’s failure to publically [sic] disclose information about Dodds’ case highlights a deeply troubling lack of concern for the lives of people who are transgender.”
Dodds is believed to be the 15th transgender person killed this year in the United States; most of those who have died were, like Dodds, transgender women of color. But to friends and family, she was just Dee Dee.
“I’m saddened but I’m okay,” relative Eric Matthews said. “The faith that our God is taking care of Dee Dee is carrying me and I think others in the family too.”