Monday, October 26, 2009
Update: Rally Against Hate In College Point
On Saturday, October 17, outraged members of the LGBT community gathered in College Point, Queens, to march and rally in protest against the brutal beating of gay resident Jack Price. Price, 49, was allegedly beaten into a coma by two local homophobes, Daniel Rodriguez and Daniel Aleman in an unprovoked attack which was captured by surveillance video. The suspects claimed Price "provoked" them by writing his phone number on the wall of a local deli. Price was taken to New York Hospital Queens where it was revealed he sustained multiple broken ribs, the collapse of both lungs, a lacerated spleen, and othewr injuries sufficiently severe that he had to be placed in a medically-induced coma to reduce the swelling of his battered organs.
Determined that this attack against Price and, in fact, the entire LGBT community, not go unanswered, local activists and community groups--myself included--took to the streets, in order to make it clear that homophobic violence will not be tolerated. Organized by LGBT community groups such as Make The Road NY and Queens Community House, the March brought several elected officials, including mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall out to speak. These officials were joined by Rally organizer and City Council nominee Daniel Dromm, LGBT community activist and organizer Brendan Fay, and Generation Q head Marissa Ragonese. Hundreds of gays, lesbians, and their alllies accompanied them on a march up College Point Blvd, past the 18th Avenue scene of the crime, and on to the Poppenhusen Playground parking lot, where the Rally was held.
Although Mayor Bloomberg did not attend the March or Rally, he issued a statement condemning the thuggish attack, and there was plenty of media coverage throughout the afternoon. I spoke alongside many others from city government, LGBT organoizations, and public agencies who will not stand for acts of hateful violence in our streets. We as human beings, New Yorkers and members of the LGBT community have the absolute right to walk our streets free from fear that we will be set upon and attacked because of who or what we are.
It will always be incumbent upon us to make ourselves seen and heard whenever any member of our community suffers this kind of tragic violence. There have been far too many (once is too many) beatings and killings of gays and lesbians in NYC and around the world this past year. Whenever bigotry rears its ugly head and strikes out at us, we must be ready to answer in numbers and with a strong message that homophobia is "socially unacceptable".