LGBT activists take a stand against violence in Washington D.C.Online Only, Top Highlights Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Following three separate attacks against the LGBT community in Washington D.C. earlier this month, nearly 700 people gathered to demand justice in a march Tuesday, the Washington Blade is reporting. The outpour of support included city officials Police Chief Cathy Lanier and four member of the Washington D.C. City Council.
The rally, which was organized on Facebook, comes in wake of a Mar. 12 attack of a 29-year-old gay man who was robbed and beaten near Georgia Avenue and Irving Street NW. His assailants called him anti-gay slurs and fled the scene according to Patrick Pressman, an organizer of the rally.
“It was a Facebook event and I expected maybe 15 to 50 people to show up,” said Pressman. “And then from there it just exploded,” he said. “It got to where it was today, when it was estimated that about 700 people were going to attend.”
The rally also supported another attack labeled as a hate crime that occurred on Mar. 11 as a non-life threatening shooting was reported at a nearby IHOP restaurant. Police say a 31-year-old gay man got into an altercation with two men who called him anti-gay names. Police Chief Lanier said she expects an arrest in the shooting as she spoke to marchers who were gathered outside the restaurant.
“We have everybody working on this and I think everybody’s committed,” she said. “We kind of take it personally when people in our community are targeted.”
On the same night of the IHOP shooting, another attack against a transgender woman occurred just hours later at the nearby intersection of West Virginia Avenue and Mt. Olivet Road NE. Due to insufficient evidence, however, the attack against the transgender woman has not been classified a hate crime.
“I want to say that this walk should never have to happen again in our city,” said D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown (D-At-Large). “We have to do more. We must do more,” he said. “And for those who know about this horrific situation that took place, I’m begging you to come forth. Give us information … to bring these folks to justice.”
Other rally attendees included gay D.C. city council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Michael Brown (D-At-large), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Jeffrey Richardson, director of Mayor Vincent Gray’s Office of LGBT Affairs, Gustavo Velasquez, director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights, and A.J. Singletary, president of the D.C. group Gays and Lesbian Opposing Violence (GLOV), including many other LGBT activists and allies.
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