Lynchburg LGBTQ community meets following murder of transgender woman

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) In Lynchburg, people are still processing the murder of a transgender woman. She went by the name Ebony Morgan. Police have named 22-year-old Kenneth Allen Kelley Jr as a person of interest in the investigation. On Tuesday, the community gathered at the Lynchburg Diversity Center to speak about how to prevent more tragedies.

Lynchburg's LGBTQ history lines the walls at the Lynchburg Diversity Center. Organizers of the Center say the history is “complex”- a word that was thrown from wall to wall tonight as the community met to unpack the most recent act of violence.

“It’s important to be here especially tonight because we're showing support and solidarity. If we only come when it's good then we are not showing the support that we need,” said Emilee Sybe, LDC Member.

A transgender flag, and a list of 15 names hang on the wall, the most recent name being Lynchburg resident Ebony Morgan.

"It means that somebody has died. And that is truly the most unfortunate thing. That someone has lost their life,” said Andi Miller, Executive Director of the LDC.

The community met in this room tonight to openly and safely discuss the recent murder. Many in the room asked what actions they can take to do better.

"Why is this happening, what can we do to change this,” said Vicente Gonzales, LDC Member.

People were curious what the greater community could do, but also what the LGBTQ community could specifically change.

"We have issues within our community about race, about class, about immigration, about people being trans-phobic to people...within our own community,” said Gonzales.

The organizers want everyone to know that the help and support for anyone in the community is widespread.

"We're here to support you in any way that you need. Whether it's through community events or if it's privately one on one,” said Miller.

The center announced tonight that they are going to start an altar building in memory of all the transgender individuals who have been killed this year. They ask people to add to the altar. That will start during Lynchburg’s First Friday event this week.