Hazma “Travis” Nagdy was a 21-year-old protester from Louisville, Kentucky who experienced a recall for life in the face of Breonna Taylor‘s senseless tragedy.
Friends say one of Nagdy’s favorite phrases was “Today is not my day to die.” But sadly, his manifestation did not come to pass.
On Monday, Nagdy was tragically killed in a shooting, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Police reportedly have little details regarding a suspect or a motive.
Nagdy was transported to the University of Louisville Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Police said they were actively searching for leads to suspects in his death.
Hamza "Travis" Nagdy was close to committing suicide this year.
On Monday the #BreonnaTaylor protest leader was shot dead at 21.@bloosemore + @HayesGardner on how the movement gave the burgeoning activist a reason to live.https://t.co/PYrjjZsjfU #Louisville #BlackLivesMatter
— Philmonger (@phillipmbailey) November 23, 2020
Nagdy’s sister and stepmother confirmed his death via social media and are raising money for his funeral expenses through GoFundMe.
“My brother was murdered. He was only 21 years old. He was an avid activist for Black Lives Matter. He was an inspirational leader,” his sister Sarah Nagdy wrote in the GoFundMe description.
Nagdy, a Louisville native, overcame a troubled upbringing, the foster care system, a jail sentence, depression, and suicidal ideations to become a pivotal voice in Louisville’s local movement. He was often seen leading the protests with passion and megaphone in hand.
“I told them two months before the movement, I was the closest I had ever been to committing suicide,” Nagdy told The Courier-Journal in October. “And I could’ve just not been here, straight up, I could’ve just not been here.
“I came out to protest, just observing, watching, using a megaphone whenever I could. … There was just so much beautiful interaction that happened that it made me realize that what was going on out here was building something different, and it gave me a reason to live.”
In that same interview, Nagdy also expressed his excitement of what was to come, being able to commune with activists who began where he began, marching in the streets fighting for change.
“I’m an ex-foster kid, I’m a felon and I don’t have my GED,” he said. “I spent three years or four years, not consecutively, incarcerated. And next week I’m flying to New York with Until Freedom. I’m having lunch with a state representative. I got people asking me to lead marches.”
At 21, Nagdy’s name is listed in the canon of other Black Lives Matter leaders who mysteriously died after fighting for justice and liberation. In Ferguson, several activists, all Black males, were consecutively killed without answers in the years following Michael Brown‘s 2014 murder at the hands of police: DeAndre Joshua, 20, Shawn Gray, 23, Darren Seals, 29, Edward Crawford Jr., 27, Danye Jones, 24, and Baseem Masri, 31.
Homicides in Louisville are on the rise. This year 140 homicides were recorded, breaking the previous record (117) held in 2016, the Courier-Journal reported.
“He’s irreplaceable,” Nagdy’s mentor and independent reporter Antonio T-Made Taylor said. “Travis really believed he could help change systemic racism. He believed he could be a big part of that change.
“If you ever needed to see hope in a young man, you could look at Travis and see it. …He was inspiring, he was insightful, he was encouraging. He was so willing to learn. He was just a beacon of hope. Him and his megaphone.”
A candlelight vigil will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday at Jefferson Square, a central meeting place for protesters, to honor Nagdy’s life and memory.