Two Eckington residents were attacked walking from a car to their home the night of July 21st, leaving one of them with a fractured jaw and in need of major surgery. Why were the lives of this couple so brutally interrupted in what should have been an uneventful two-block walk to their front door? They may have been targeted, says MPD, because they are gay.
This reprehensible act of violence and homophobia has since turned into a story of the success of collective action and community support. Community members chipped in more than enough money to pay the hospital bills of one of the victims, and now, their neighbors are organizing a march and rally to take place tomorrow, August 9, at 7:00pm at Big Bear Cafe, located at R and 1st NW. Titled “WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED Rally and Safety Walk” (all caps righteously the organizers’), the event will include a march to the site of the incident, where the participants will engage in a “momentum of noise.”
Please join us there and help us show that we can — and will — be heard. CASS supports the WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED march as well as all community-based responses to hate crimes and gender-based violence. All acts of gender- and sexuality-based violence are attacks against the community at large, and no one needs to stand by while their neighbors become survivors.
In case you’re thinking this might just be one sad but rare incident, we want to stress that this is not an isolated occurrence. According to police statistics, incidences of crimes linked to victims’ sexual orientation have increased this year. Twenty-two such hate crimes have been reported so far, compared to 15 at this time in 2011. This does not include the crimes that go unreported or that are allegedly gender- or sexuality-based but are not classified as such. After a rash of violence against the transgender community last summer, NPR reported that the crimes, which included hate-based vandalism, had “raise[d] alarm” in the city. Earlier this year, almost 1,000 DC residents marched against hate after three violent attacks occurred within the space of a week.
It’s time to make headlines again! We hope to see you tomorrow. Look for the folks in the Collective Action for Safe Spaces t-shirts if you want to chat or march with us!