Archive: 21 July 2023

Quianna Canada's TikTok: A Public Watchdog Account

Quianna Canada’s TikTok: A Public Watchdog Account


In her powerful TikTok videos, Quianna Canada fearlessly delves into the tragic deaths of asylum seekers within Ireland’s direct provision system. With unwavering candor, she exposes Ireland’s grave breaches of human rights obligations as outlined by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and various other international treaties.

Through her thought-provoking content, Quianna will shed light on the profound injustices faced by these vulnerable individuals seeking safety and protection in Ireland. Her passion for truth and accountability is evident as she emphasizes the urgent need for a thorough investigation into the deaths of asylum seekers within direct provision.

By bringing attention to this critical issue, Quianna compels viewers to address the systemic failures and disregard for human rights that perpetuate such devastating consequences. She calls for a comprehensive examination of Ireland’s treatment of asylum seekers, emphasizing the importance of holding the country accountable to its obligations under international law.

Quianna’s TikTok platform will serve as a catalyst for change, seeking to encourage individuals to reflect on their own role in advocating for justice and fairness. Her determined and unyielding voice hopes to amplify the voices of those who have been silenced, demanding answers, transparency, and compassion.

Through her commitment to shedding light on this pressing matter, Quianna fosters important discussions and prompts viewers to take meaningful action. In her concise and compelling videos, she urges us all to confront the uncomfortable truth about the deaths of asylum seekers under direct provision and offers a rallying cry for justice in pursuit of a more equitable society.

July 2023 Public Statement: Condemning Racial Profiling and Police Brutality Against African Americans

July 2023 Public Statement: Condemning Racial Profiling and Police Brutality Against African Americans

July 2023 Public Statement: Condemning Racial Profiling and Police Brutality Against African Americans

I am deeply concerned about the recent instances of racial profiling and police brutality targeting African Americans in the US. I condemn these acts of discrimination and violence, recognizing that they not only violate basic human rights but also contradict the principles enshrined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

The ICERD, a legally binding instrument ratified by the US in 1994, explicitly prohibits racial discrimination in all its forms. It emphasizes the equal rights and dignity of all individuals, irrespective of their race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin. It is disheartening to witness across social media platforms, the persistent instances where these principles are disregarded, leading to devastating consequences for marginalized communities, particularly African Americans.

We must acknowledge that these incidents are not isolated events but are indicative of systemic issues deeply rooted in society. Structural racism and biases have perpetuated a system that disproportionately affects African Americans, leading to unequal treatment, unjust arrests, and excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies.

In 2021, Los Angeles police tased documentarian Damien Smith in his home, mistaking him for a burglar. The next year body-worn camera footage show Paterson police shoot Khalif Cooper in his lower back, paralyzing him for life. Earlier this year, on June 2, 2023, Alabama police tased an unarmed African American to death after mistaking him for a burglar. Reports also surfaced this month that Northwoods police officer broke a man’s jaw with a baton, leaving him in Kinloch. Further, an American uploaded a video of a police officer giving him a warning because he was going 65 mph in a 70 mph speed limit.

Such practices erode trust between communities and the authorities, perpetuating a cycle of fear, discrimination, and violence. Indeed, the practices of racial profiling are raised with some regularity before the CERD Committee. General recommendation 31 urges State parties to take all necessary steps ‘to prevent questioning, arrests and searches which are in reality, based on the physical appearance of a person, that persons’ color or features or membership of a racial or ethnic group.’

The Committee further stated that racial or ethnic profiling against individuals of African descent (CERD/C/PAN/CO/15-20, para. 21) is regarded as dangerous in that it promotes racial prejudice or stereotypes (CERD/C/IRL/CO/3-4, para. 18).

As a Human Rights Defender committed to the promotion of equality, diversity, and inclusivity, I stand in solidarity with the African American community in the US and all those who have been victims of racial profiling and police brutality. I recognize the urgent need for immediate action to address these systemic challenges and create meaningful change.

To this end, I call upon the following actions:

1. Accountability and Transparency: Law enforcement agencies must be held accountable for any violations of human rights, including racial profiling and the use of excessive force. There should be transparent investigations into all incidents, and perpetrators must face appropriate legal consequences.

2. Training and Education: Comprehensive anti-racism and de-escalation training programs should be implemented for law enforcement officers to foster cultural sensitivity, emphasize human rights, and promote fair and unbiased practices. I further call upon the US to strongly consider implementing a new de-escalation unit in the nation.

3. Community Engagement: Officers must be willing to take the initiative to promote dialogue and foster trust between community members and law enforcement agencies They must also encourage open communication channels, establish community oversight mechanisms, and involve community leaders in shaping policing policies.

4. Policy Reforms: Advocate for the implementation of policies, such as repeal of the qualified immunity doctrine, that address systemic racism and bias within the criminal justice system. This further includes reviewing and revising policies such as stop-and-frisk, use of force, and racial profiling, with a focus on eliminating discriminatory practices.

5. Data Collection and Analysis: Allegations of police violence or misconduct haved trouble the Committee, who criticized the absence of independent monitoring mechanisms with powers to investigate complaints of misconduct. Therefore, I call on the US to enhance data collection on racial profiling incidents and use the information to monitor trends, identify areas of concern, and develop evidence-based policies and strategies to combat racial discrimination.

6. Collaborative Efforts: Encourage collaboration between government entities, civil society organizations, and community stakeholders to develop comprehensive strategies that tackle systemic racism, promote social justice, and ensure equal protection under the law for all.

I believe that it is our collective responsibility to address racial profiling and police brutality in order to build a more just, inclusive, and equitable society. Let us stand united against racism and discrimination, working hand in hand to create a future where fundamental human rights are respected, irrespective of one’s race or ethnicity.

For more information about July 2023 Public Statement: Condemning Racial Profiling and Police Brutality Against African Americans, please contact us here.

Unsafe Drinking Water Muddies the Water on US Human Rights

Unsafe Drinking Water Muddies the Water on US Human Rights

Unsafe Drinking Water Muddies the Water on US Human Rights

The impact of dwindling water supplies on humankind is evident worldwide.[1] Still, most presume that citizens of the United States live with close to universal access to potable water, sanitation, and safe drinking water.[2] While this is not true, I think the United States could do better. In the past, the American Society of Civil Engineers has given the United States a “C-” or below for wastewater infrastructure in their annual “Infrastructure Report Card[3] but I think the United States could improve its score.

Before we get to that, its important to state that The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report demonstrating the disproportionate impact on people of color posed by safe drinking water and clean water regulatory burdens which built on similar peer reviewed findings.[4] According to professors Mueller and Gasteyer, “clear household water access represents an ongoing environmental injustice in the United States.” Their research also found that millions of Americans live in counties where more than 1 out of 100 occupied households lack complete plumbing[5] and live in places with chronic Safe Drinking Water Act violations and Clean Water Act non-compliance.[6]

Access to Clean Water

The muddy water crisis in the United States is a growing concern for human rights activists. For example, organizations found Black and Hispanic individuals continue to be disproportionately affected by paying some of the highest water bills for unsafe water they cannot drink. Janene Yazzie, community activist, further asserts, the water crisis has become a public health, a rights, an equity, and a survival issue.

Is Access to Water a Human Right?

The Economic and Social Council has held “the human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.”[7] The legal basis for the right to water is found in Article 11, paragraph 1, of the ICESCR. While the US has not ratified the ICESCR, it still has an obligation under A/RES/64/292. Additionally, the Council made clear the right to water is “…inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of health (art. 12, para. 1) and the rights to adequate housing and adequate food (art. 11, para. 1).”[8] Here, the right to water, like any human right, imposes three types of obligations on the United States: the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill.[9] Unfortunately, the United States government has failed to take action. But I think frontrunners for the presidential race in 2024 can make clean water one of its campaign promises.

How Can the United States Raise its Score?

To raise the United States’ grade, it should develop and fund affordability programs to ensure that low-income and vulnerable communities do not bear a disproportionate burden of rate increases.[10] Lastly, the United States’ national water strategy and plan of action should be based on the principles of accountability, transparency and independence of the judiciary, since good governance is essential to the effective implementation of all human rights, including the realization of the right to water.[11]


[1] Niazi, T. (2008). Water Sources. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2nd edition. The Gale Group.

[2] Mueller, J. T., & Gasteyer, S. (2021). The widespread and unjust drinking water and clean water crisis in the United States. Nature Communications12(1)., p. 2.

[3] Infrastructure Report Card. (2021). United States. Available at:

[4] Supra, note 2, p. 2.

[5] Id, p. 5.

[6] Id.

[7] U.N. Economic and Social Council. (2003). The right to water (arts. 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). E/C.12/2002/11

[8] Id., para. 3.

[9] Id., para. 20.

[10] Supra, note 3, p. 8.

[11] Supra, note 7, para. 49.

Profile of Derek Diaz: Victim of Orlando Police Shooting

Profile of Derek Diaz: Victim of Orlando Police Shooting

Profile of Derek Diaz: Victim of Orlando Police Shooting

Name: Derek Diaz

Age: 26

Gender: Male

Ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino


Derek Diaz was a 26-year-old Hispanic/Latino man living in Orlando, Florida, prior to his untimely death. There is limited information available about his personal background and upbringing, but it can be inferred that he was a member of a close-knit family.

Incident Overview

On July 3, 2023, Diaz was involved in a tragic incident that resulted in his death. The events unfolded when officers from the Orlando Police Department met Diaz in his car on Jefferson Street and North Orange Avenue. Body camera footage, released by the police department, depicts the encounter between Diaz and the responding officers.

Body-worn camera footage also show Diaz complying with the officers commands when they arrived on the scene. After Diaz reached into the console, the situation quickly escalated.

Review of the video further depicts an officer shooting into Diaz’s vehicle, despite him not having a weapon. He succumbed to his injuries shortly after.

There was no attempt by the officers to de-escalate or use less lethal means to control the situation.

Family Reaction and Public Outrage

Diaz’s family expressed their grief and shock at the actions of the police officers during the incident. Their attorney, Ben Crump, spoke on their behalf, demanding justice and calling for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Diaz’s death.

Firearm violence in the US has sparked widespread public outrage. Based on the reporting of Matt Trezza, dozens of people marched through the streets of Daytona Beach the same week calling for an end to gun violence.

Human Rights Defender, Quianna Canada has criticized the officers’ response. According to Canada, “there needs to be improved de-escalation approaches and increased accountability in law enforcement encounters.”

Impact and Analysis

Diaz’s death served as a catalyst for renewed discussions around police use of force and the treatment of minority communities by law enforcement.

“There should be legislative changes, adherence to international standards of policing and the implementation of a de-escalation unit to handle complex situations without resorting to lethal force,” says Canada.

Canon 4 urges “law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, to apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms.”

While the full details of Diaz’s personal life has yet to be disclosed, his tragic death has left an indelible impact on his family and the wider community.

The incident serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities and controversies surrounding police encounters in the US, inspiring ongoing efforts to address systemic issues within the area of American policing.

Is the Adoption of De-escalation Unit the Game-Changer in Eliminating US Police Brutality?

Is the Adoption of De-escalation Unit the Game-Changer in Eliminating US Police Brutality?

Is the Adoption of De-escalation Unit the Game-Changer in Eliminating US Police Brutality?

Police violence has reared its ugly head again across the US. With a significant increase in the number of lethal incidents and unarmed victims lost; communities have been left alone to process a devastating amount of grief that just won’t end.

Year 2022 was an insufferable year for American civilians—Mapping Police Violence (MPV) found—showing US police killed roughly 1,201 people.

The interactive tools on MPV show the rate of civilians killed by police in 2023 are dreadfully similar to the rate of 2022. During that year, Black Americans accounted for 26% of those killed by police. When you carefully consider the fact that Blacks represent 13% of the US population, most would agree the number of Blacks killed in police encounters is shocking.

MPV States 602 Civilians Have Been Killed By US Police

At the time of writing this article, US police have taken approximately 602 civilian lives. As reported by MPV, there have only been 11 days in 2023—since they last updated their website—where US police did not kill a civilian.

The data gathered by MPV further show Black people are more likely to be killed during police encounters. Terrifyingly, statistics indicate 95% of America’s largest police departments kill Black people at a higher rate. The citation of this statistic does not discount the killings of other civilians by police in the US. Indeed, lives taken at the hands of the police is deeply concerning for any group. To illustrate this point, one only need refer to the incident where an Orlando police shot and killed an unarmed man named Derek Diaz.

Most Killings With US Police Begin With Traffic Stops

Data further suggest most killings with US police begin with traffic stops, involve non-violent offenses and often transpire where no crime was alleged. This data takes shape in the recent killing of Diaz and the 2022 killing of Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old who Akron police officers shot following an attempted traffic stop and foot chase. Based on Erun Salam’s reporting, police officers can be seen firing more than 90 bullets at Walker, where he sustained 60 wounds.

As stated by MPV, nearly 33% of civilians killed by the police were either running away, driving away or otherwise try to flee. This converges with Pickett, et al.’s finding that “…many Americans find various types of interactions with police to be traumatic; they are afraid of those interactions occurring” and this “fear is a significant factor in their lives.” [1]

Evidence Indicates Black Americans Have Good Reason to Fear Police

We know Americans find interactions with police to be traumatic, which may be an indication that Black Americans have a good reason to fear law enforcement. For instance, Pickett, et al. found “…most Black respondents (58%) are either “afraid” or “very afraid” of being killed by the police.” The percentage recorded for other groups, such as White respondents, was markedly less.[2]

Strikingly, research showed 45% of Black respondents prefer to be robbed or burglarised than to be questioned by the police “without good reason.”[3] We must also take into account that such a percentage does not represent all Blacks. Certainly, there are Blacks, as well as other people, who rather not be robbed or burglarised. I know the people close to me, including myself who do not want to experience either.

“Too many people are dying. There is a dire need for de-escalation approaches in the US. A new de-escalation unit may just keep civilian lives safe.”


Even still, Pickett, et al. discovered that Blacks had a well-founded fear of police. Nearly 42% of Black respondents said they were “very afraid” that the police would kill them in the next five years compared with 11% of White respondents.[4] Such fear rings true for 37-year-old Jarrell Garris, who got caught in the cross-fire of these statistics and is now on life support at Westchester Medical Center after a New Rochelle police officer shot him. Police’s shooting of Garris preceded statements that he opened and ate food from a grocery store he did not pay for.

Is Shoplifting Now Punishable by Death in the US?

The shootings of civilians in search for food raises an important question as to whether shoplifting in now punishable by death in the US. In the past, I have condemned extreme punishments for minor theft offenses and called on the US to increase penalties for excessive or lethal use of force deployed by shop owners and law enforcement officers in shoplifting incidents.

I have also called on the US to raise awareness regarding excessive use of force and lethal violence dangers through public service announcements and other educational campaigns.


The US should prevent and most severely punish violence and all violations of human rights affecting Black Americans which are committed by State officials, particularly police officers.[5] It must also do the same for individuals like Diaz, who find themselves in the cross-fire. This recommendation further invokes the canon of supporting international standards regarding the conduct of State officials, including the general principle of proportionality and strict necessity in recourse of force. For instance, Canon 4 states “law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms.”

Thus, my recommendations are as follows:


[1] 5 Pickett, et al.(2022). The American racial divide in fear of the police. Criminology. Volume 60, Issue 2, pp. 291-320. Available at: (at p. 295)

[2] Id., p. 303.

[3] Id., p. 310.

[4] Id.

[5] CERD. (n.d.). General Recommendations (A/60/18). Retrieved from

Vulnerable Victim Hypothesis: Addressing the Widespread Issue of Sexual Harassment

Vulnerable Victim Hypothesis: Addressing the Widespread Issue of Sexual Harassment

Vulnerable Victim Hypothesis: Addressing the Widespread Issue of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a systemic and political problem because we live in a patriarchal society. Patriarchy is defined as a system of social, political, and economic structures and practices, in which men as a group/category govern, oppress, and exploit women as a group/category (Strida & Hearn, 2022).

The first idea that supports the argument that sexual harassment is a systemic issue rather than personal one is the vulnerable-victim hypothesis, which suggests that women in precarious positions who have the least workplace authority are subject to greater harassment. A proposition offered here is that when sexual harassment is reinforced through our political institutions, it relegates women to a class of vulnerability. Indeed, the failure of the law to offer women significant protections and equality undoubtedly places women in a tenuous position (Cushman, 2011) that go beyond what is perceived as personal.

The second idea that supports the argument that sexual harassment is a systemic issue is the power-threat model, which suggests that women who threaten men’s dominance are frequent targets of sexual harassment (McLaughlin, Uggen, & Blackstone, 2012). Assertive females are also seen as threatening the gender hierarchy (McLaughlin, Uggen, & Blackstone, 2012), as the patriarchal structure we currently live in gives imprimatur to men to keep women “in their place” (McLaughlin, Uggen, & Blackstone, 2012) through men’s harassing conduct. For example, men’s use of harassment and discrimination diminishes women employed in masculine occupations (McLaughlin, Uggen, & Blackstone, 2012).

To be sure, Fitzgerald (2017) found females in non-traditional jobs reported significantly greater subjective harassment by men. This finding was supported by McLaughlin, et al. (2012), who found females in predominantly male industries reported the same. Research on contrapower harassment further suggest that even when women possess greater organizational authority than the male harasser, her gender often imbues her male harasser with informal power (McLaughlin, Uggen, & Blackstone, 2012). Indeed, men’s sexual harassment of women in the workplace imposes a penalty upon women for “stepping out” of their traditional roles, and functions as a tool to enforce gender-appropriate behavior (McLaughlin, Uggen, & Blackstone, 2012).

Vulnerable Victim Hypothesis: Addressing the Widespread Issue of Sexual Harassment

Third, feminist studies have emphasized how men’s violence to known women can be understood as part of the system of structured power and oppression that constitutes patriarchy and patriarchal social relations (Strida & Hearn, 2022). This structured power is seen in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986), at the district court level, before the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, the lower court held Vinson engaged in “voluntary” conduct, which had nothing to do with her continued employment at the bank. Based on this argument, the district court found Vinson was not the victim of sexual harassment. Although the U.S. Supreme Court held the correct inquiry is not whether Vinson’s participation was voluntary, but whether her conduct indicated that the alleged sexual advances were unwelcome, the district court’s initial ruling demonstrates men’s treatment of women in the workplace wields phallic power gained through our patriarchal structure.

In the book, Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women’s Lives at Work, feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon offered two overarching principles that changed how the law viewed sexual harassment in the workplace. First, MacKinnon argued that the harassing conduct was “because of sex,” in that, the victim’s womanhood was the reason for the harassment (Thomas, 2016). Second, she argued that unwelcome sexual conduct directly—and adversely—affects the “terms, conditions or privileges” of a woman’s employment in a way that most men never had to experience (Thomas, 2016). Although opponents may contend that sexual harassment is personal rather than political, there is no way we can agree with this idea.

Patriarchy is thought to anchor the problem of violence against women in social conditions, rather than individual attributes (Strida & Hearn, 2022). This converges with the idea that sexual harassment in the workplace deals with society and its organizations, and how it legitimizes the behavior against women, rather than it being confined to an individual’s personal life. Indeed, the notion of patriarchy, as a system of violence, enables the theorizing of simultaneously existing structures of violence (e.g. sexual harassment), as an assemblage of multiple simultaneous overlapping systems (Strida & Hearn, 2022) that go beyond what is personal. That’s the big political problem of sexual harassment.

According to General Comment 19, CEDAW acknowledged that equality in employment can be seriously impaired when women are subjected to gender-specific violence, such as sexual harassment in the workplace. Furthermore, State parties should include in their reports information on sexual harassment, and on measures to protect women from sexual harassment and other forms of violence of coercion in the workplace (24)(j).


Cushman, C. (2011). Romantic Paternalism. In C. Cushman, Supreme Court decisions and women’s rights: Milestones to equality (p. 1.26).

CQ Press.Fitzgerald, L. F. (2017). Still the last great open secret: Sexual harassment. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 18(4), 483–489.

McLaughlin, H., Uggen, C., & Blackstone, A. (2012). Sexual Harassment, Workplace Authority, and the Paradox of Power. American Sociological Review, 77(4), 625–647.

Strida, S., & Hearn, J. (2022). Violence and Patriarchy. In L. R. Kurtz, Encyclopedia of violence, peace and conflict (pp. 319-327). London: Academic Press.

Thomas, G. (2016). In G. Thomas, Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women’s Lives at Work. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Introducing an International Human Rights Perspective: Exciting Changes and Updates to JTC Await!

Introducing an International Human Rights Perspective: Exciting Changes and Updates to JTC Await!

Introducing an International Human Rights Perspective: Exciting Changes and Updates to JTC Await!

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to announce some significant improvements to this public watchdog platform, aimed at aligning it with a broader international human rights perspective. To begin with, protests will now be categorized under Article 10, with the tag ‘freedom of expression’, in accordance with recognized international standards.

Additionally, I will be revising certain existing categories and tags to better reflect international law conventions, covenants, and treaties. These changes are intended to enhance the user-friendliness of the website and allow readers to navigate more effectively.

Furthermore, I have decided to redirect my research and expertise away from Central America and focus on the United States and Ireland, given my firsthand experiences within these countries. This adjustment will allow me to offer a more informed and insightful analysis on human rights issues.

I would also like to inform you that I am currently exploring alternative names for the blog. While this process may take some time, I kindly request your patience and understanding.

Rest assured, the core issues that I have been researching and supporting, such as institutional racism, women’s rights, trans women’s rights, police brutality and gun violence, will remain at the forefront of our content.

The research focus on Quianna Canada’s Direct Provision Watch will exclusively concentrate on the aspects of cruel and unusual treatment and punishment within Direct Provision. To gain an in-depth understanding of the issue, it is imperative that I explore instances where individuals have been subjected to cruel, unusual, or degrading treatment within this system. It is therefore requested that anyone who has personal experiences related to such treatment kindly reach out to me, contributing their stories and perspectives. By collecting and analyzing these narratives, my research will aim to shed light on the human rights implications and potential violations associated with the Direct Provision system.

There are still numerous changes in store for this public watchdog blog, so please continue to check for regular updates.

Thank you for your continued support and engagement.

Examining the Inconsistencies: Why the US Government's Portrayal of the Kimbrady Case Lacks Credibility

Examining the Inconsistencies: Why the US Government’s Portrayal of the Kimbrady Case Lacks Credibility

Examining the Inconsistencies: Why the US Government’s Portrayal of the Kimbrady Case Lacks Credibility

First, my heart is heavy with sorrow for all the families in the US who have endured immeasurable pain and irreparable loss, as they bear the unbearable burden of losing a cherished soul to the unforgivable atrocity of the recent act of gun violence that plagues our streets.

Now, to some uncomfortable truths while not losing sight of the horror that guns have caused for so many innocent people: the Kimbrady Carriker case, as portrayed by American media, lacks credibility when examined closely. It is essential to apply critical thinking and thorough analysis to the evidence presented before forming conclusions. When we scrutinize the available information, several inconsistencies and questionable assertions emerge, further weakening the narrative put out by the US government.

To begin, it has been alleged that Kimbrady was a supporter of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. However, if we assume that Kimbrady had extremist tendencies, as it is claimed, it is highly unlikely that their first target would be Black Americans. BLM’s core purpose is to advocate for justice and equality for Black lives, so it is contradictory to suggest that a supposed BLM supporter would target the very community they claim to support. With that said, no individual should be exposed to an act of gun violence on the basis of their skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.

Additionally, conflicting reports regarding Kimbrady’s gender identity raise doubts about their status as a transgender individual. Contrary to initial claims, their grandmother stated that Kimbrady was gay, not transgender. It is crucial to respect an individual’s self-identification and avoid making assumptions based solely on external appearances. Merely dressing in clothing associated with a different gender does not automatically indicate transgender identity.

The US further alleges that Kimbrady stated they committed the shooting to address gun violence. However, this assertion is highly questionable, as it goes against the principles of the gun-control movement. Advocates for gun control, like Journey to the Center, firmly believe in resolving issues through peaceful means and would never resort to violence or the use of firearms to further our cause. Therefore, such a claim appears inconsistent with the beliefs of gun-control proponents.

Moreover, we must critically examine the alleged religious affiliation of Kimbrady. While it is true that transgender individuals, including trans women, can be spiritual or religious, linking religious beliefs to the alleged attack lacks evidential support and is misleading.

It’s worth mentioning here that the experiences of transgender women often center around personal gender identity struggles, including discrimination and social exclusion, rather than using religion as a rallying point for violent actions. Studies consistently highlight that violence against transgender individuals is more commonly perpetrated against them rather than by them.

Additionally, the reported facts surrounding the case raise suspicions. While it is true that any individual, regardless of their gender identity, can commit heinous acts, it is vital to carefully evaluate the evidence presented. In this instance, inconsistencies and potential ulterior motives warrant further investigation before making conclusive judgments.

To be sure, a confidential source in the US claims that Kimbrady did not identify as a trans woman but male when booked into custody. This raises compelling doubts about the accuracy of the narrative being disseminated by US media.

It is essential to consider this information, examine all available facts, and be cautious about drawing premature conclusions based on incomplete or inconsistent data put out by our government.

Ultimately, it is imperative for the US to focus on the lives affected by this horrific attack and the broader issue of gun control, rather than perpetuating fear and stigmatizing trans women. Throughout history, marginalized communities have been disproportionately subjected to demonization, while systemic issues remain unaddressed. Indeed, research shows the US’s failure to protect Americans from gun violence may violate international law.

It is high time to shift our collective focus towards preventing future tragedies and creating a society that embraces inclusivity, justice, and understanding. Congress has the power to prevent gun violence in the US. The question is: will they?

In conclusion, the Kimbrady case, as presented, fails to withstand scrutiny when the available evidence is carefully evaluated. It is crucial that we approach this case with discernment, continuously questioning the inconsistencies and biases present in the narrative. Rather than perpetuating fear and stigmatizing marginalized groups, let us prioritize understanding, justice, and comprehensive solutions that genuinely address the root causes of violence and injustice.

A Light Dimmed Too Soon: Honoring the Memory of Chanell Perez Ortiz

A Light Dimmed Too Soon: Honoring the Memory of Chanell Perez Ortiz

A Light Dimmed Too Soon: Honoring the Memory of Chanell Perez Ortiz

It happened again. But this time, it happened in Puerto Rico. Another trans woman trying to survive in this spine-chilling world; another trans woman murdered on US territory; another broken promise, and, more call-to-action lists that just keeps getting bigger as the days progress.

Her name was Chanell Perez Ortiz. She had pearly white teeth, a caramel complexion, and eyes that led one into a room where potential lies shelved on exhibition—from the love of pop culture to the art of styling lace frontal wigs. Ortiz was the amalgam of femenina.

There was not much on the internet about Perez’s upbringing; only that she was a cosmetologist and a “fashion nova” who adored hair and makeup.

Fashion, for some trans women, facilitates freedom of expression and brings trans women closer to realizing their right to life. Hair and makeup align trans women with their most authentic selves—bringing to life riveting art into human form.

At times, I let this undeniable truth decamp into criticism, “Why is the normative society expecting trans women to always appear in public with a full face of makeup and lace frontal wigs? Didn’t they know that not all trans women aspired to these patriarchal social conventions of beauty?” And this was the turning point for me, as I realized these aesthetics were: freedom.

Perez, like all human beings, are born free and equal in dignity and rights. This is a reference to Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a guarantee to the people that all rights and freedoms outlined in the Declaration should be interpreted without distinction of any kind.

Regrettably, there are distinctions when it comes to transgenderism in Puerto Rico. For instance, trans women are judged to be an invisible and underserved group.[1] The invisibility of trans women in Puerto Rico’s social arena has potentially led to an escalation of violence against them.[2] This finding does not stand alone, as Ínaru Nadia de la Fuente Díaz said transgender people in Puerto Rico are “invisible in the eyes of the island” and this has contributed to a culture of violence.[3]

Between 2009 and 2011, Puerto Rico has seen 18 homicides against LGBT individuals.[4] While it is not immediately clear how many of these homicides were trans women, the number is still troubling. In 2012, a trans woman living in Carolina, Puerto Rico was stabbed to death in her home.[5] Then in 2020, this number increased: six trans people had been murdered. One of those deaths was Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas, a 33-year-old bartender and aspiring nurse. Based on the reporting of Assunção, Vargas was found dead on an isolated road in San Germán, Puerto Rico with multiple gun wounds to her body.[6]

It has been said that in Puerto Rico, the population places cultural value on adherence to polarized and rigid definitions of gender and sexuality.[7] Moreover, evidence seems to suggest that intolerance toward transgender people in Puerto Rico is rooted in religious heritage. Although the study conducted by Rodriquez-Madera does not explore all forms of violence, she did find the high levels of stigma toward socially marginalized and vulnerable populations were connected to religious beliefs.[8]

Again, there does not seem to be much online about Ortiz or if her murder was religiously motivated. What I do know is that human rights activists have seen a rise in attacks on trans women in the last couple of years.  

Based on the research I have been conducting, the continued verbal attacks on trans women have come from groups of individuals from both sides of the aisle. Some of these attacks are coming from public figures who are set in their beliefs about trans women. In the words of Bernard Baruch, “Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”

This is exactly how I hear the opinions about trans women; everyone has a right to them but not to their own set of facts. On the other side of the coin, I think most humans would agree that no person has the right to arbitrarily take a life, even if the life being taken is a trans life.[9]

I hope that the Puerto Rican government exercises its due diligence to effectively investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators responsible for Ortiz’s death, and to utilize the hate crime laws it enacted in 2002 to protect individuals like Ortiz from further violence on the bases of their gender identity and sex characteristics.[10] This could make Puerto Rico a safer place.

[1] Rodríguez-Madera, Sheilla L et al. “Experiences of Violence Among Transgender Women in Puerto Rico: An Underestimated Problem.” Journal of homosexuality vol. 64,2 (2017): 209-217. doi:10.1080/00918369.2016.1174026

[2] Id., p. 2.

[3] Cohen, Christopher Brito Li. “Transgender People in Puerto Rico Say They Are Invisible in the Eyes of the Island – and It’s Contributing to a Culture of Violence.” CBS News, 2 Sept. 2021,

[4] Supra., footnote 1, p. 3.

[5] “Transgender Murder 30th Anti-LGBTQ Homicide in Puerto Rico in Decade – Windy City Times News.” Windy City Times, 23 Oct. 2012,

[6] Assunção, Muri. “Another Transgender Woman Fatally Shot in Puerto Rico – the 6th Killing of a Trans Person This Year in the U.S. Territory.” Nydailynews.Com, 30 Sept. 2020,

[7] Supra, footnote 1.

[8] Id., p. 2.

[9] Principle 4 of the Yogakarta Principles: No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of life, including by reference to consideration of gender identity.

[10] United Nations. “Born Free and Equal – Un Human Rights Office.” OHCHR, 2019,

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