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Unsolved Homicide of Black Gay Man Revisited

In the cold-case homicide of Matthew Mickens-Murrey, LGBTQ advocates, family and friends hopes to raise awareness and reengage the public with a petition for police to bring justice for the victim.

On what would have been Mickens-Murrey’s 27th birthday, Impulse Group DC held a happy hour in observance of his life on Thursday, Nov. 9 at Nellies Sports Bar in Northwest, one of the last places he was seen alive.

“It’s been nearly 6 months since Matt’s murder and there isn’t a day that goes by where his community of family and friends don’t think about him,” said Devin Barrington-Ward, president of Impulse Group DC. “Matt was a supporter and friend of Impulse DC. In fact, he was very close to some of our board members, and we felt that Matt’s birthday was too special of an occasion to not celebrate his life.”

According to Impulse, on May 30, 2017, following Black Gay Pride festivities over the Memorial Day weekend, Mickens-Murrey’s body was found brutally stabbed to death in his Hyattsville, Md., home.

The group said Prince George’s County investigators have not made any arrests in the case, despite claiming to have some leads.

“Additionally, we want this to be an opportunity to engage others in ensuring justice by collecting signatures for a petition to police and elected officials to put more effort into solving his case,” Barrington-Ward said.

Mickens-Murrey’s family supports the group’s efforts to both celebrate his life and hold investigators and county leaders accountable.

“Matthew was a very loyal friend and a nonjudgmental confidant,” said his sister, Naja Murrey. “He was also a loving and trusting person all around, which unfortunately may have cost him his life.”

Melody Murrey, the mother of the victim, remembered her son at the happy hour.

“Matthew’s quick wit and sense of humor brightened his characteristics and strengthened his magnetic pull on your heart,” she said. “And of course, we can’t forget his ‘mile smile.’ His smile spread wide across his face and joy and happiness to all those around him. His loss of life is tragic to all who knew him but his impression will last forever and why we will continue to demand justice for Matt.”

In Impulse’s effort to remember Mickens-Murrey, they wants to continue to put a spotlight on the increasing number of homicides against Black LGBTQ people that often go unsolved.

At the happy hour, the group also shined light on two other D.C.-area cold cases, Demencio Lewis, 23, and Stephon Marquis Perkins, 21, who were also Black gay men killed in 2014 and 2015.

“Unfortunately Matt isn’t the only young Black gay man in the D.C. area to be killed in their prime and have their killers still remain at large,” Barrington-Ward said. “What message does it send to the community when they constantly see other Black LGBTQ people being murdered over a short span of time and those victims, their families, friends and community never receive justice?

“This is about accountability as well as public safety for Black LGBTQ people,” he said. “Black lives matter and that includes Black LGBTQ people, too.”

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Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s millennial publication. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A proud southern girl, her lineage can be traced to the Gullah people inhabiting the low-country of South Carolina. The history of the Gullah people and the Geechee Dialect can be found on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In her spare time she enjoys watching either college football or the Food Channel and experimenting with make-up. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com. E-mail: Swright@washingtoninformer.com Social Media Handles: Twitter: @dreamersexpress, Instagram: @Sarafinasaid, Snapchat: @Sarafinasaid

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