Last Updated on October 20, 2015 by bvnadmin

Since the Black Voice News published its recent report “Raising our voices for transgender lives” another African American member of the transgender community was brutally murdered.

The original article highlighted the growing number of murdered transgendered women, mostly black, whose deaths go unnoticed.

This week, police in Maryland began an investigation into the murder of Zella Ziona a transgender woman shot to death Thursday, October 15.

According to reports, there was an initial fight that appeared to involve several individuals. During the scuffle Ziona was reportedly struck with a stick but appeared to get the upper hand.

Witnesses reported Ziona was subsequently lured to an alley where a suspect wearing a monster mask jumped from behind a dumpster and shot her several times in both the head and groin.

Family members stated twenty-one-year-old Ziona, whose given name was DeAndre Smith, was on her way to place flowers on her grandmother’s grave when the attack occurred.

For more information on the efforts to stop the murder of transgender individuals visit

Words by: S. E. Williams

S.E. Williams

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and social justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Over the years Stephanie has reported for other publications in the inland region and Los Angeles and received awards from the California News Publishers Association for her investigative reporting and Ethnic Media Services for her weekly column, Keeping it Real. She also served as a Health Journalism Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at