ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The man accused of murdering 30-year-old Ahsid Hemingway-Powell appearing in court Friday. Iaeir Robinson pleading not guilty during an early-morning hearing.
“It’s bittersweet, because it was someone that she knew and I guess thought loved her. We know the family. It’s no winner. It’s heartbreaking still for me and my children,” says Jackie Powell, Ahsid’s mother.
Jackie says as hard as the last few months have been since her trans daughter was slain in May, she’s training her eyes forward on helping others the way Ahsid would have wanted.
“Even though you’re hurt, being mad at the world is not going to bring Ahsid back for me,” she explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
Ahsid was a well-known and beloved member of the local LGBTQ community. Her murder sits alongside the December loss of Kentish Bennet–a local drag performer and musician–as well as the more recent death of music performer Dominique Eley, aka “Kay Hollywood”, who was shot and killed July 3.
“What I think needs to take place is a coordinated community response to ensure the safety and support LGBTQ communities, specifically communities of color. When we look at these crimes and the most horrendous crimes based on gender and sexuality and race, they are often not deemed hate crimes,” says In Our Own Voices CEO Tandra LaGrone.
“Even though we’ve had these gains, it still is very much — people are still getting harassed in so many different ways. In Our Own Voices building is right here on Lark Street. It’s a challenge for a lot of our staff, a lot of our community members, to even walk through the doors and to access our services,” she goes on to explain.
LaGrone says losing so many influential figures can be crushing, but also inspires others to sound the call for justice.
“We don’t want any death to be in vain. It’s important to continue their legacy with action,” she says.
Both LaGrone and Jackie say they’re working to bring awareness to LGBTQ and BIPOC safety, domestic violence, and mental health issues.
In Our Own Voices will host a meet and greet BBQ Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. highlighting the services they offer, including the Capital Region LGBT Anti Violence Project. Also Saturday at the Albany Riverfront, the Powell family will host an education fundraiser from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. for the Ahsid Hemingway-Powell Foundation.
“In Our Own Voices is here for them and that they matter and that we are offering a wide range of services and resources for our community,” says LaGrone.
“Whatever you want to be, you can be that. There’s no stopping you, as long as you get your education,” adds Jackie.