Brazil Johnson vigil; transgender Milwaukee woman shot, killed

Brazil Johnson, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Milwaukee on June 15.

Two weeks later, near Teutonia and North on Wednesday, the Black Rose Initiative joined together with the 28-year-old's family for a vigil. 

"Brazil was a very free spirit, very fun-loving, believed in herself, believed in others when they didn't believe in themselves," said Bernitha Gildart, Johnson's mother.

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Gildart believes part of the reason her daughter was killed was because she was a transgender woman.

"For those many wounds and for someone to be disfigured like that, it was definitely a hate crime," Gildart said. "Someone was very angry."

Brazil Johnson vigil near Teutonia and North

The Black Rose Initiative thinks Johnson's killing is part of a larger discrimination issue in Milwaukee. They said change can start with finding the person who killed Johnson.

"You don't have to hurt me. You don't have to hurt my friend. If you're not with it, just leave it alone," said Ananna Sellers with Black Rose Initiative.

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"Put the guns down. It's not necessary," Gildart said. "We can all coexist. This world is big enough for everyone."

In a statement, Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he has discussed Johnson's death with police and the city's Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Brazil Johnson

A news conference regarding the homicide is set for Thursday at City Hall, but police, for now, are not releasing any details about what led up to Brazil Johnson's death. 

Anyone with information regarding Johnson's death is asked to call MPD.