About a thousand protestors marched from the LGBT Community Center to the site of the fatal shooting of a gay man near the Stonewall Inn yesterday. The participants hoped to draw the police’s and the public’s attention to a string of alleged hate crimes against LGBT people in the city.
The most serious attack occurred May 17, when a gunman harassed and then fatally shot Mark Carson, a 32-year-old gay man, in the West Village. Police believe that Carson did not know the perpetrator, who shouted anti-gay slurs and followed Carson when he attempted to deflect the threats, then shot him in the head. The NYPD charged Elliot Morales, 33, with murder as a hate crime and other offenses.
Speakers at the rally denounced hate violence and called for justice for all victims of violence. Organizations and officials participating in the action included the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), GLAAD, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Bronx LGBTQ Center, Make the Road NY, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, other community partners, and New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.
AVP will continue to work to create safety in all communities across New York City through a new Friday Community Safety Night initiative, which will begin this Friday, May 24. On every Friday night from May 24 through the end of June, AVP will be out on the streets doing outreach in neighborhoods affected by anti-LGBT violence to raise awareness and provide people with information and safety tips. AVP is looking for dedicated volunteers and concerned community members to join them.
Carson was the fourth victim of anti-gay violence in New York City in the last several weeks, but the first fatality. Soon after the march, NBC News 4 reports, a gay couple was allegedly punched and harassed in SoHo and another gay man was allegedly beaten in the East Village. Police arrested two suspects and charged them with assault as a hate crime in the incident with the couple. Police are still investigating the East Village incident.