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Activists Hold Community Memorial Service For Slain Kansas City Transgender Woman

Cody Newill
Members of Una Lucha KC and the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project hosted a memorial service for Tamara Dominguez, a transgender Latina woman who was brutally killed a few weeks ago.

Activists and LGBT community members held a memorial service for Tamara Dominguez, a 36-year-old transgender, Latina woman who was brutally run over three times in a parking lot Aug. 15. 

Dozens showed up to the service in Westport, which was organized by the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project and Una Lucha KC. Many placed red roses, a favorite of Dominguez's, on a pedestal next to an alter covered in candles and pictures.

Randall Jenson with the Anti-Violence Project helped organize the memorial. He said he wanted those who attended the memorial to get a sense of Dominguez's personality.

"Tamara was loved, she was kind, she was generous and she was beautiful," Jenson said. "She's leaving a big variety of people in the wake of her death and murder who loved her."

Jenson says that Dominguez's death has shocked not just Kansas City's transgender community, but the Latino community as well.

Credit Cody Newill / KCUR
Pictures of friends and family, as well as a favorite dress of Dominguez's were on display for the memorial.

"There's a lot of healing that's needed," Jenson said. "Healing for her partner, healing for her immediate chosen family and friends, for the Latino community, for the transgender community, [and] for the transgender women of color who have gone back into hiding and feel unsafe after this."

Celia Ruiz of Una Lucha KC also helped organize the memorial, and she has talked with Dominguez's friends and family over the past several weeks. She hopes that people will use the tragedy to start conversations about the issues transgender women, and particularly transgender women of color, face on a daily basis.

"The first step is to let go of ourselves in the conversation," Ruiz said. "We need to think of ourselves as a human being inside an entire universe of people that may talk nothing like us, may look nothing like us, but they feel just like us."

The Kansas City Police Department is investigating Dominguez's death as a homicide, and are looking for a suspect in a dark-colored SUV. Dominguez was the second transgender woman killed in Kansas City this summer. A woman named Jasmine Collins, was stabbed to death in June.

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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