If it wasn't for LaSaia Wade, many transgender and gender non-conforming people of color wouldn't have a place to turn to for help in Chicago.
REPORTER: If it wasn't for Lassia Wade, many transgender and gender nonconforming people of color wouldn't have a place to turn to for help in Chicago.
LASSIA WADE: I promised myself to at least have one resource for anyone that comes in the space. And I've kept that promise.
REPORTER: She's the founder of Brave Space Alliance, the first black and transgender led LGBTQ center on the south side. The center provides a variety of services, including support groups, employment, hope, and a food pantry.
There was no place that is, like, dedicated for transgender nonconforming people to center themselves, to be able to be their authentic selves.
REPORTER: Tatiana Motin is a board member for Brave Space Alliance. She says Wade works around the clock.
TATIANA MOTIN: She answers the call when people call.
REPORTER: Wade knows the struggles for familial and societal acceptance as a transgender person. She became an activist after her college friend was killed in 2010.
LASSIA WADE: They found her on the side of the road wrapped up in saran wrap with her hands tied behind her back. And in that moment, I knew that trans people could not live authentically.
REPORTER: Filings against transgender and gender nonconforming people is on the rise. The human Rights Campaign recorded 44 deaths in 2020, more than any year since tracking began in 2013. Black and Latina women are most often the targets. They're killed because of someone else's ignorance. Two transgender women in Chicago were killed nearly two weeks apart, and they were friends. Tyyana Alexander and Courtney Ajay Key. Key was killed on Christmas Day, Alexander in January.
- Birthday, and when she passed away. And this the picture.
INTERVIEWER: What's it like for you when you look at that picture?
- Oh, you know, what I just think, like, she's still with me.
REPORTER: The police tape is still up near 75th and Holsted, where Lucretia Alexander's daughter Tatiana spent her last few moments alive.
- I want everyone to know that she was a lovable person. She was happy.
REPORTER: Wade says her community is struggling to survive and only a few seem to care.
LASSIA WADE. We need comrades, and the reason why I say we need comrades, I need to know that you're beside me. And when someone attacks me, you're there to help me.