Nona Moselle ConnerAge 32
13 May 2021
Washington, D.C. (USA)
Nona was one of two Washington trans women (the other being Gisele Hartzog) who died within a two week period. Both had struggled with poverty and homelessness.
A candlelight vigil was scheduled to be held Friday, May 21 at River Terrace Park in Northeast D.C. to honor the lives of two young transgender women who died within the past two weeks, according to transgender activist Earline Budd.
In an announcement released early Thursday, Budd said the vigil set to take place from 5:30 p.m. until sunset would honor D.C. transgender residents Nona Moselle Conner, 32, who died on May 13, and Gisselle Hartzog, 30, who passed away on May 18. Budd said the cause of death for both women could not immediately be determined.
The announcement says River Terrace Park is located at the intersection of Benning Road and Anacostia Ave., N.E.
Ruby Corado, executive director and founder of the D.C. LGBTQ community services center Casa Ruby, said Conner and Hartzog were Casa Ruby clients who each at various times had struggled with homelessness.
Corado said that at the time of her passing on May 18, Hartzog had been notified that city supported housing was expected to become available to her after she had been on a waiting list for a D.C. program for homeless people.
A write-up on the website of the D.C.-based organization Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) says Conner worked for Casa Ruby before joining the staff of CASS in 2017. A CASS spokesperson said Conner worked for CASS at the time of her passing last week.
“She stepped up as program manager in 2017 with her work supporting trans and queer people of color in accessing employment opportunities through the Safe Bar Collective,” the CASS write-up says.
It says that during her work at Casa Ruby, Conner helped clients through empowerment groups that addressed issues such as sex work, sexually transmitted infection prevention, and job training.
Corado said she was hopeful that the vigil would draw attention to the needs of transgender people, especially trans people of color, who have faced struggles for survival in the wake of discrimination and prejudice.