OAKLAND -- A ceremony marking the 15th annual observance of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance is planned for Nov. 20 in the plaza outside Oakland City Hall.

Transgender and nonbinary gender people who have been injured or killed in the last year due to hate crimes will be remembered and honored around the world on that day, including at the amphitheater at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

The idea is to call attention to the ongoing epidemic of violence against transgender individuals, organizers said. The names of those killed by anti-transgender violence will be read.

Last week, Luke "Sasha" Fleischman, an 18-year-old Oakland resident, was badly burned when Richard Thomas, a 16-year-old Oakland teen, set fire to the skirt the high school senior was wearing while riding an AC Transit bus, police said.

Fleischman continues to recover at a burn center in San Francisco. Thomas appeared in court Tuesday and is expected to enter a plea Friday.

The Nov. 20 event is organized by the Tri-City Health Center, where Brandy Martell worked before she was killed in downtown Oakland in May 2012.

The 37-year-old Martell, a transgender woman, was shot to death while she was parked in a car in downtown Oakland with three transgender women friends. Her slaying remains unsolved.


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Scheduled speakers include Mayor Jean Quan, Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Lynette Gibson McElhaney, and Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson.

Following the ceremony at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, there will be a candlelight vigil to the corner of 13th and Franklin streets, where Martell was killed.

The Day of Remembrance started in 1999 as a way to draw attention to the issue of anti-transgender violence. The event was initially created to mark the anniversary of the death of a Massachusetts transgender woman, Rita Hester, whose death remains unsolved.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.