CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Blake Brockington passed away as a result of suicide three years ago today, and a vigil will be held tonight at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in his honor. Brockington was a student at UNCC at the time of his death, and is one of the namesakes for the university’s LGBTQ archive.

Brockington, a young activist who advocated for black and trans lives, made national headlines in 2014 when he was crowned homecoming king as an openly transgender student.

“He genuinely cared about everybody,” O’Neale Atkinson, at Time Out Youth, said at a memorial held shortly after his passing. “He cared about the world. Blake recognized things needed to change. Not just one or two things, but a lot of things.”

Tonight’s vigil, to “commemorate his life and continue his mission,” has been organized by the UNCC LGBTQ+ Coalition, a group working to establish an on-campus LGBTQ+ community center.

The event will be held at the Star Quad, next to Atkins Library, from 8-9 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to “bring candles, flowers, photos, poems, songs, or anything else you’d like to contribute to this space.”

“Trans people are still people. Our bodies just don’t match what’s up (in our heads). We need support, not people looking down at us or degrading us or overlooking us. We are still human.”

~ Blake Brockington (May 14, 1996 — March 23, 2015)

Looking for support?

Those looking for support can visit Time Out Youth, located at 3800 Monroe Rd., Charlotte, or call the center at 704-344-8335.

LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can also reach the The Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386., or by texting “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200.

Trans Lifeline is another resource for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in need of someone to talk to, and it can be reached at 877-565-8860.

Jeff Taylor is a journalist and artist. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inside Lacrosse, and McSweeney’s Internet...