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Community’s march for Price shows condemnation of hatred

I was shocked to read TimesLedger Newspapers’ Oct. 29 editorial “No Need for This March,” which questions the purpose of and motivations behind the recent rally in College Point against the beating of Jack Price.

While the editorial correctly stated that “all decent people condemn” the attack, it went on to ask why it was necessary for local elected officials to participate in a march. If we should not have marched, then what is the appropriate community response to a hate crime?

Leadership is about standing up and speaking out against injustice. Is it better to sit by so other would-be criminals think the community does not care when a man is beaten for being gay? Elected officials represent the people. When an incident occurs that is repugnant to the values of a community, who better to say so than those people elected to public office?

The most disturbing part of the editorial was the question posed in response to the “Stop the Hate” shirts many marchers wore: “What hate?” it states. How can TimesLedger ask such a question? The crime against Price was an attack on the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Price was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but any other LGBT person could have suffered the same fate. Many have and too often such incidents go unreported either because the victims are afraid or because they do not believe the police will respond. I commend the police for swift action in this case, but the arrest of two perpetrators does not mean we have solved the problem of hate crimes in our society.

Would that the two young men who targeted Price were the only New Yorkers who harbor hate for LGBT people and wish to do them harm. Unfortunately, they were acting out a pernicious hatred that, while limited to a small minority of people, is still prevalent in our society.

This time, a man was attacked because he was gay. Next time, someone may suffer a similar fate because of his or her race, religion or nationality. The point is an attack on any of us is an attack on all of us.

We had to march and we had to speak to make this perfectly clear: Any violent attack is unacceptable. A hate-inspired attack that targets an individual based on his or her identity is abhorrent and in our community it will never go unnoticed.

Mark Weprin

State Assemblyman

Little Neck

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