From Luis Gomez and Matt Rhoades
A group estimated at more than 500 people walked from Columbia Heights to Dupont last night to recognize the victims of recent hate crimes against members of the LGBT community in DC, and to call attention to the problem still face gay and transgendered people in DC. The event was organized on Facebook by friends of one of the victims , Daniel, who was shot March 11 at the IHOP restaurant in Columbia Heights after an incident which involved anti-gay slurs. Police have listed the incident as a hate-related assault with intent to kill.
Starting off at the IHOP at 14th and Irving Streets NW, the group walked to Georgia Avenue and Irving Street NW for a second brief ceremony at the site where another gay man was beaten and robbed on March 12; he suffered a broken jaw. According to Kyan Brady, one of the March organizers, both of the men were released from the hospital yesterday, March 20.
What is a hate or bias crime? Wikipedia says: “In crime and law, hate crimes (also known as bias-motivated crimes) occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation,disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, gender identity, social status or political affiliation.” What does the term mean under DC law? Check out the DC Police definition of a hate crime.
Patrick Pressman, one of the March organizers said he believed that DC Police had estimated the crowd at 520 people. Pressman said the turnout was definitely in the 50o to 600 range. More than 700 people had said they would attend on the Facebook event page.
Video and Photos of March: More Borderstan photos on our Facebook Page. The march drew a great deal of local media coverage, including The Washington Post, as well as local TV stations. Video of the march is available at ABC-7, NBC-4, CBS-9 and Fox-5. The Washington Blade has posted a photo gallery from last night’s march as has The DC Center on flickr. (A hat tip to Chris Wiggins for organizing media coverage.)
The march ended at Cobalt lounge at 17th and R NW, where a fundraiser was held for Daniel, the shooting victim at IHOP –proceeds are going to help cover his medical costs. In addition to a donations bucket at Cobalt, Cobalt General Manager Mark Rutstein said the business was donating a portion of bar receipts to Daniel’s medical fund and that the DJs and the evening’s drag show performers were also donating the cost of their time on Tuesday night for the fundraiser. There is also a Facebook Page, Benefit for Daniel, where you can make a donation through PayPal.
MPD Chief Cathy Lanier was at the kickoff at IHOP, along with Councilmembers Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), and Council Chairman Kwame Brown. The marchers were also joined by some members of Occupy DC who came to show support.
The organizers have also recommended two organizers where you can make donations in addition to the Benefit for Daniel Fund:
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- Tonight: Silent March for Recent Victims of Anti-LGBT Violence (Borderstan)
- March to begin Tuesday at IHOP to remember LGBT shooting, assault victims (Washington Blade, March 19)
- March planned in Columbia Heights for victims of anti-gay violence, including IHOP shooting (The Washington Post, March 17)
- 3 hospitalized after spate of anti-LGBT violence (Washington Blade, March 14)
- Two Gay Men And A Transgender Woman Hospitalized After Anti-LGBT Attacks Hit Washington D.C. Neighborhood (Huffington Post, March 15)