Jovana Luna, the outreach coordinator for El/La Para TransLatinas, an organization for transgender Latinas, died Sunday afternoon, according to Isa Noyola, the organization’s advisory board co-chair. She was 32 years old.
The cause of death for the Mexican-native and transgender rights advocate, is unknown. Noyola said they were unaware of any health issues.
“We are still in the grieving process,” said Noyola. “This has been a huge shock.”
Luna, a Mission resident, played a vital role in rallying the community to get behind the Violence Prevention Act that El/La presented at City Hall in 2013.
“She was an advocate to keep our space open and has mobilized communities to show up to rallies and participate in keeping spaces alive,” said Noyola. “Our community trusted her completely.”
Noyola said that during Luna’s time at El/La she loved to coordinate opportunities to get in touch with Mission residents and neighbors. She loved planning celebrations and festivities, Noyola said.
“We will never have another Jovana. She was the person who all of the community called on when there were emergencies or whenever there was a crisis,” said Noyola.
When news broke of Luna’s death on Sunday, the organization held a vigil service at its location at 2940 16th St. El/La will hold another service tonight at the same location, and Noyola encouraged members of the community to come and bring flowers and donations for Luna’s Memorial Fund to cover the cost of her funeral service.
“She was an incredibly important part of the Mission and San Francisco,” added Noyola.
In addition to a memorial service, El/La will also be holding a celebration of Luna’s life later this week with more details to come.
Find more information on El/La Para TransLatinas Facebook page.
Read our previous Q&A with Jovana Luna last year in anticipation for her performance at the Brava Theatre.
Update August 18th: An earlier version of this piece noted that Jovana Luna was 29-years-old. That has been corrected.