GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Around the world on Nov. 20, people participate in candlelight vigils, conversations and events honoring and remembering those who have been killed or identifying as transgender.

“I am a trans woman and I have been trying to be more involved with the LGBTQ community on campus here, and this was one way that I could try to contribute,” said Dr. Faye Knickerbocker, East Carolina University psychology teaching assistant professor.

The day of remembrance was observed for the first time in 1999 by a transgender advocate, Gwendolyn Ann Smith. Smith began the day of remembrance to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in her apartment in 1998.

“We try not to focus on the violence itself. We try not to focus on the hatred and the awful things that these people experienced before their passings,” said Rose Bogue, an event organizer. “And instead, this is a time to recognize them for who they are.”

Remembering and giving each person hope, ECU is taking action.

“Greenville has an amazing LGBTQ community on ECU off campus. And we’ve been really fortunate to have that community here,” said an event organizer, Chelsie Hargrove.

“And so, I think, or I feel like having events like this where we can intentionally create a safe space, we can honor those lives that are lost, we can bring awareness to the anti-trans violence and awareness to this issue, while also remembering those that have passed away.”

For more information on resources and help for those who are struggling, visit Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center | ECU.