Kerrice Lewis. Say her name.
The 23-year-old Black lesbian was shot and burned alive in Washington D.C. a few days after Christmas. On December 28, police responded to a report of gunfire. When they arrived at 7:30 p.m. they found a car on fire. After the blaze was extinguished, officers found Lewis in the trunk, unconscious and shot. By the time emergency medical services arrived, they found “no signs consistent with life.” Neighbors said they heard multiple gunshots and moments later saw a raging fire. They reportedly heard Lewis screaming as she tried to escape the trunk.
Lewis was orphaned at the age of 11 and raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather William Sharp told Fox 5 D.C. that the event is “devastating” and he “can’t put it in words.” He said the death of her parents put Lewis on a rough path. Her mother died of a brain aneurysm and her father was murdered. She was working on a construction site and Sharp said she “was very excited because she had just finished taking some classes and was looking forward to taking some more.” He also said she was a free spirit, who was full of life and could light up a room just by talking and laughing.
Her family does not know who could possibly be responsible for this murder and police don’t yet have a suspect or a motive. However, there are many who are upset about the lack of media coverage around her murder.
A tweet from the Las Vegas chapter of the Human Rights Campaign cites the story of the brutal murders of Brandi Mells and Shanta Myers to illustrate how the murders of queer Black women are often ignored by mainstream media.