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Multiple organizations speak out after death of transgender inmate at Cuyahoga County Jail

'After society failed Lea, the final indignity was being misgendered in death.'

CLEVELAND — Several organizations are joining forces to address the death of inmate Lea Rayshon Daye at the Cuyahoga County Jail.

“The Coalition to Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail, Equality Ohio, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland decries the loss of another life at the Cuyahoga Jail: Lea Rayshon Daye, a black trans woman,” the organizations said in a joint statement. “At only 28 years old, she was found unresponsive by correctional officers early Sunday morning.”

Maya Simek of Equality Ohio said the system “is completely inept” when interacting with those at the intersection of race and LGBTQ+ identity by not protecting them – especially in state custody.

“After society failed Lea, the final indignity was being misgendered in death,” the statement continues. “Lea spent the last 105 days of her life in the custody of a system that could not even afford her the basic dignity of releasing and reporting to the public her correct name and gender after her passing. Those that knew her said that she would have hated that.”

All four organizations hosted a virtual press conference Friday morning, which you can watch in full below:

“The victims of the Cuyahoga County Jail should not be forgotten and black trans lives should not be erased. Join us in fighting for a fairer, freer and more equitable justice system in Cuyahoga County.”

They are calling on the community, elected officials and non-profit organizations to honor those whose lives were cut short by demanding justice and accountability.

“The last two people who died in jail had experienced homelessness and these deaths at the county jail cannot become routine.” said Chris Knestrick from the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.

 “Like the lives lost through police murder, mass shootings, and the COVID pandemic, these are not isolated instances. They are symptoms of the deep systemic rot that places property and profit above human life and human dignity.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Video below from June 2020.

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