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As someone who works in College Point and lives nearby, I was upset to see the woefully ill-informed Oct. 29 editorial (“No Need for This March,” TimesLedger Newspapers) on the march and rally against a recent anti-gay hate crime.
Contrary to your view, there was a need to march and take a visible stand against hate crimes. Hate crimes are particularly abhorrent because they are not just directed at an individual, but an entire group. Such crimes, especially those directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, flourish in an atmosphere of shame and ignorance.
Sadly, the act against Jack Price was not just “an isolated incident,” as you mistakenly wrote. Out of all hate crimes in this country, those against LGBT individuals make up 16 percent, which is far lower than the actual number due to under-reporting. Even in purportedly gay neighborhoods LGBT individuals can become targets.
The attack on Price came on the heels of a recent incident in Hell’s Kitchen. Ask any LGBT New Yorker and you will hear personal stories of anti-gay harassment and intimidation wherever they live.
You erroneously wrote, “There is no support or sympathy in College Point for the men who beat Jack Price.” Unfortunately, there was a small protest across the street in support of the perpetrators. Some from this small group reportedly have a troubled history in the neighborhood. Their presence was meant to intimidate College Point residents from attending the march and rally.
I am perplexed at how the attendance of elected officials “exploit[ed] the attack at the expense of College Point residents.” Many College Point residents stood tall with officials and activists. Price’s family bravely spoke. Together we made heard the voice of the vast majority in College Point.
I was also troubled to read how you seemed to pit attacks motivated by race against attacks motivated by sexual orientation. Any hate crime response requires swift police action and unequivocal public condemnation, both of which happened in this case. Anything less sends the message that harming a neighbor because he or she is gay, black, Latino, Jewish and so on is OK.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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