Simmons student and trans rights activist Jahaira M. DeAlto died Sunday, May 2 at age 42, according to an email from Simmons President Lynn Perry Wooten.
DeAlto’s death is under investigation by the Boston Police Department, according to the email from Wooten. CBS Boston reports that the death is an apparent stabbing.
“Though I did not have the privilege of personally knowing Jahaira, I have been struck by her kind spirit, committed advocacy, and her lasting impact on so many in our community and beyond,” wrote Wooten. “I often talk about Simmons as a place where students can utilize their educational experiences to prepare for their life’s work. Jahaira was a bright light who truly lived her passion and calling as an advocate, friend, and colleague.”
DeAlto, a social work student in the Simmons class of 2023, was known for her activism surrounding trans rights, race, gender, and domestic violence, according to Wooten’s email and an article from WBUR.
Lennon Sherburne, the president of the Simmons Trans and Nonbinary Collective (TaNC) wrote in a statement to the Voice, “I think the trans community is grieving at Simmons. It is a great loss. TaNC is hoping to honor Jahaira’s legacy by continuing to fight for trans advocacy and visibility on campus. We encourage folks to attend Jahaira’s memorial service tomorrow at 5pm.”
Simmons is holding a virtual gathering to “honor and remember Jahaira” May 4 at 5pm, according to Wooten’s email. Information about the event can be found on the Simmons website.