As dozens gathered to remember 38-year-old Antash’a English Thursday in Sidney J. Gefen Riverwalk Park, balloons floated away just as quickly as her time on Earth.
Those in attendance first released black balloons, which represented evil. They later released a group of purple balloons, Antash’a’s favorite color. Finally, they released a slew of white balloons, which cascaded across the evening sky as a final tribute to her life.
Candle wicks touched to spread a flame between members of the vigil looking to shine a light in her honor. Several speakers reminded people in the small crowd that “Trans Lives Matter,” followed by prayers and recollections of what made English so special.
She died June 1 after being shot in the abdomen by an unknown male suspect. JSO is still investigating her death. She was 38 and had been living as a woman for more than 20 years. Find out more about her death here.
Terry Sams, manager and program director at gay nightclub InCahoots, said he had worked with English for more than 20 years and they called each other brother and sister.
“Say her name,” Sams said. “Just remember all the smiles and the good times. We’re doing this for Shay. I’m doing this for Shay.”
Sams got emotional talking about his close friend, who he said would always call people because she wanted to hear your voice. He lamented that we won’t ever be able to hear that voice again, but “I’m going to keep her name alive.”
Watch the full vigil below: