Saturday, June 25, 2016

Remember Their Names

During what is LGBT Pride Weekend in many cities, let us celebrate the freedoms that exist for some, but keep on working for the freedoms of all and let us remember the victims of gun violence, and firmly resolve to do something about it. Let us also remember our sisters and brothers who have been taken from us, simply because of who they are.

We know that 49 people were brutally killed in a gay club earlier this month, but this was not the beginning of violence against the lgbt community. Sadly these hate crimes go back through history.  Please be safe at the various celebrations today and tomorrow.  (I know that San Francisco Pride will have increased police presence all weekend, and metal detector have been added to all the entrances of the Celebration site).

These are some of the others who were murdered because of their gender identity or sexual orientation: Howard Efland, beaten to death by Los Angeles Police; Upstairs Lounge (32 victims), New Orleans gay bar torched by arsonist; Robert Hillsborough, stabbed to death in San Francisco by a man shouting "faggot;” Harvey Milk, murdered by political rival Dan White at San Francisco City Hall; Terry Knudsen, beaten to death by three men in Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Steven Charles, beaten to death in New York City; Charlie Howard, drowned in Bangor, Maine for being "flamboyantly gay;" Rebecca Wight, shot along the Appalachian Trail; James Zappalorti, a gay Vietnam veteran, was stabbed to death; Julio Rivera, beaten with a hammer and stabbed with a knife because he was gay; Brandon Teena, a trans man, raped and later killed; and Matthew Shepard, tortured, beaten, tied to a fence, and abandoned in Laramie, Wyoming.

Other vicitms include Billy Jack Gaither, brutally beaten to death in Rockford, Alabama; Gwen Araujo, murdered by at least three men when they discovered she was trans; Sakia Gunn, murdered by stabbing in Newark, New Jersey; Richie Phillips, killed because he was gay in Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Glenn Kopitske, shot and stabbed in the back in Winnebago County, Wisconsin; Emonie Spaulding, shot to death in Washington, DC; Jason Gage, bludgeoned to death in Waterloo, Iowa; Ryan Keith Skipper, stabbed to death in Wahneta, Florida; and Ruby OrdeƱana, strangled to death in San Francisco, CA. The list also includes Roberto Duncanson, stabbed to death in Brooklyn, NY; Ebony Whitaker, shot and killed in Memphis, TN; Sanesha Stewart, stabbed to death in The Bronx, New York; Lawrence King, shot twice by a classmate in Oxnard, California; Nahkia Williams, shot to death in Louisville, Kentucky; Lateisha Green, shot and killed in Syracuse, NY; August Provost, shot to death Camp Pendleton; Mariah Malina Qualls, murdered in San Francisco; and Toni Alston, shot in Charlotte, North Carolina.

There are more - a LOT more. Their murders were in small towns and in big cities and in all parts of this country. They were killed because of hate. They were killed in many cases because people in positions of trust had convinced them that lgbt people are not worthy of living.  Look up additional names (they are pretty easy to find).  Think of these people.  Remember - they were PEOPLE.  All people should be able to live without fear.  Let us move forward to a world with no hate and let is make certain that there are no more deaths like these.

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