Bonaire Black ("Bonni")Age 18 (born 7 Jan 2002)
31 Dec 2020
Atlanta, Georgia (USA)
Bonni was found lying under a blanket on the third floor of a parking garage.
Atlanta police said there were no signs of foul play, but people who knew her claim that she was killed during an argument.
Friends and transgender advocates said Bonaire “Bonnie” Black was trying to find employment and housing. She was found dead on Dec. 31.
With fistfuls of pink and blue balloons – the colors of the transgender flag – friends gathered outside a drop-in center last week to memorialize Bonaire “Bonnie” Black, a transgender teen living on the streets who was found dead on New Year’s Eve.
The death of Black, 19, is under investigation by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office. There were no signs of foul play, according to an incident report from Atlanta police, but people who knew Black said she was killed during an argument.
Black was at least the fifth trans or gender non-conforming person to be killed or die under questionable circumstances in Georgia in 2020.
The body of Black, 19, was found on the third floor of the parking garage at the Georgian Terrace on Peachtree Street in Midtown, according to an incident report. An employee found her laying under a blanket with her fist clenched at about 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 31.
When a hotel manager and another employee couldn’t wake Black, they called police. A police report described the incident as a “natural death.” Officer Sharetia Thomas, the police officer who responded to the hotel’s call, wrote in an incident report that an employee of the medical examiner called to the scene “advised me there was no foul play.”
An investigator with the medical examiner’s office told Project Q Atlanta that an autopsy was performed but declined to discuss details of the investigation. It could be six weeks before a lab returns toxicology test results to the medical examiner’s office.
Bonnie died just 7 days before her 19th birthday and was homeless at the time of her death. She was described by those who knew her as an artist, songwriter and rapper.
“She loved doing her makeup and going out into the world making sure she looked her best,” Toni Bryce, a community health outreach worker with the National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities (NAESM), said during the event. “She was a young girl taken very soon,” she added.
Black was a client at Da Cribb, which NAESM operates, for more than two years, Bryce told Project Q. Staff at the facility last saw her on or about Dec. 28, she added.
Black was living on the streets at the time of her death and would sometimes sleep on Da Cribb’s porch, Bryce said.
“Every day we were open, she would come in and utilize the services we had,” she added.
Black was from Savannah and relocated to Atlanta at 17, according to trans activists. Bryce said she was trying to find a job and housing. But even facing difficult circumstances, Black still tried to help others in need.
“When she was trying to find housing, she was trying to help people. She was definitely always trying to help somebody else that was in her situation,” Bryce said.
Bonnie's Facebook profile is https://www.facebook.com/kendall.sawyer.7771.