"Many names of those Americans that have been murdered from LGBT bias in this nation were read as candles were lit... the silence was slight as each name then mentioned led all of us feeling inner spasms of loss. The list seemed infinite. Sadly, once every eighth day an LGBT person is murdered simply for being LGBT, so the list continues to grow." - Ali Sue
By Ali Sue
Amidst recent homophobic related “hate crimes”, San Diegans decided to take a stand. Specifically, they took a stand at the bright and beautiful large lemon in Lemon Grove, which was also the site of the recent “hate crime” against Ron DeHart, executive director of San Diego Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Pride. His crime was carrying a gay pride flag. His attacker ripped the flag out of his hands and then struck him with it. Another recent San Diego “hate crime” survivor, Rhythm Turner, was attacked in Ocean Beach. Both of these incidents are clear reminders that LGBT-based bias can and does lead to violent acts of aggression.
The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) quickly planned and organized a very peaceful rally and march. Stephen Whitburn read statements from both survivors. Ron DeHart’s statement emphasized that the recent “hate crimes” are reminders that the LGBT communities’ struggle for equality is still alive. Musician Rhythm Turner’s statement expressed appreciation to all the participants. She was originally from Spring Valley. As a peaceful and respectful person, she never expected to be assaulted for giving her girlfriend a hug. The incident compromised her courage. She suffered facial fractures. Recently she had an operation to repair her nose damage from the incident and is unable to work presently.
Lemon Grove City Councilman George Gastil stated, “This is a great cause, a great bunch of people, and I am delighted to have you here. I think that it would be a great idea to have a gathering for equality in June every year by the Lemon. So think of that.” Assembly member Marty Block’s statement was read by his Chief of Staff Chris Ward. Harvey Milk was quoted, “All men are created equal and no matter how hard you try you can never erase those words.”
Ward read on and explained the relationship with the recent events and the history of Stonewall. He articulated equal protection under the law for all and that each must be free from violence due to race, gender, sexuality, and identity.
Many names of those Americans thave have been murdered from LGBT bias in this nation were read as candles were lit. Although each name was softly spoken by Carl Manaster, the silence was slight as each name then mentioned led all of us feeling inner spasms of loss. The list seemed infinite. Sadly, once every eighth day an LGBT person is murdered simply for being LGBT, so the list continues to grow.
Then the marching and chanting began. “Obama let mama marry mama. Obama let papa marry papa,” were among some of the many chants. Lemon Avenue was lit with candles as the group moved peacefully throughout the town. People honked in support for the action and some joined the marchers. Signs proclaiming equality and condemning “hate crime” were held proudly and all were motivated.
After the group marched throughout the town, they finally arrived back from whence they started at the lemon. Participants each clearly were feeling sensitivity to the town and the actions that brought them there. These San Diegans look forward to the day when such violence is merely human history and no longer part of their daily lives. That is why they rallied and marched to promote “Freedom from hate.” The struggle is not over, but SAME is working the project.
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