No to hate
Two recent acts of violence in the region have us pondering the legendary Rodney King question: “Can we all get along?”
It was Sunday, March 17, when two young men attacked a man in his 40s at 20th and D streets in Midtown. One made anti-gay slurs while the other clobbered him in the leg with a baseball bat. The victim’s name was not released. And as of press time, the assailants have not been found.
This incident was shocking, especially since it happened only a week after a brutal anti-gay attack in Davis. On March 10, Lawrence “Mikey” Partida, a 32-year-old Davis resident, was jumped and beaten bloody and savagely for being gay. Police arrested a 19-year-old Davis resident on suspicion of this crime; an arraignment is set for April.
The incidents herald back to 1998, when Matthew Shepard, a gay 21-year-old student from the University of Wyoming, was tied to a fence, tortured and left in a coma to die. Shepard’s tragic death sparked a national movement to extend hate-crime legislation to protect gays and lesbians.
But the law has not yet removed the hate.
In Davis, 300 people showed up at a candlelight vigil held a few days after the assault on Partida. The victim, still in recovery, felt cheered up by the gathering and also when his mother read to him the hundreds of support messages posted on the Mikey’s Justice Fund Facebook page. “I never thought I’d be that big of a movement,” he said.
But you are and should be, Mikey. Local hate crimes like the Midtown and Davis ones should not be tolerated. Silence is not an option. We must all unite around a resounding no to hate.