Rita Hester’s murder and legacy are important to Boston, so she’s getting a mural in Allston


Hester was stabbed to death in her home in 1998.

Rita Hester, a trans woman from Allston whose murder sparked the creation of Transgender Remembrance Day, is receiving a mural in Allston. Mayor Michelle Wu’s Office

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s office commissioned a mural of a trans woman who lived in Allston and whose murder triggered the creation of Transgender Remembrance Day to help maintain the importance of her story.

The mural, titled “Rita’s Spotlight,” will depict Rita Hester, who was killed at age 34 in 1998, and will be painted near Union Square in Allston.

“Rita Hester was a black trans woman and a beloved member of the Allston community who lost her life as a result of transphobia and anti-trans violence,” the Mayor’s Office said in a press release about the mural.

“Rita Hester was known for her friendliness, daring and love of entertainment. Her death was felt by countless people and sparked a movement in Boston and beyond.”

According to NBC News, Hester was born in Hartford, Connecticut, but found a more welcoming community of friends in Boston. The news outlet wrote that she was a major presence in the city’s rock scene in the 1990s, frequenting The Silhouette Lounge in Allston, as well as straight and gay clubs.

Hester was found alive but with 20 stab wounds at her home on Park Vale Street in Allston on November 28, 1998, NBC News reported. The news network wrote that it took more than an hour after police were called for her to be taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

His murder remains unsolved.

After Hester was murdered, NBC News, Boston newspapers, reported as The Boston Globe, The Boston Heraldand even LGBTQ+ newspaper bay windows confused Hester in their reporting, prompting a protest march by activists from the Herald for the bay windows office.

In 1998, devastated by the murder of Hester and many other recent murders of trans women, trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith created a web project called Remembering Our Dead to honor them, NBC News reported.

The following year, she created Transgender Remembrance Day, which is November 20, and held marches and vigils in Boston and San Francisco.

The Mayor’s Office said in the statement that the mural, which will be painted at 506 Cambridge St. in Allston, near the Jackson Mann School, was proposed by former Boston artist-in-residence Golden.

The Mayor’s Office said the city hired street artist Rixy, a Roxbury native, to create the mural as part of the city’s Transformative Public Art Program.

The mural should be completed in early July, the Mayor’s Office said. Rixy will be participating in an artists conversation to share more about the design process and community engagement for the mural on Wednesday, June 29.

“It’s part of the process to think about others’ reflections: how will Rita be seen so vibrantly, and how others, especially her loved ones, will always see her,” Rixy said in the statement. “I feel like a useful tool to create a look from these perspectives.”

Also in honor of Hester, the Mayor’s Office said the city has contributed to the Massachusetts Rita Hester Scholarship Fund’s Transgender Emergency Fund, which opens for applications on June 24.

The fund will award $2,500 to four low-income black transgender women pursuing a post-secondary degree, certificate or accreditation, and $1,000 will go to three low-income transgender women of any race seeking a degree, certificate or certificate. post-secondary. or accreditation.

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