Sorry for the last minute notice gente. I didn’t catch this event till late last in the VivirLatino inbox gracias to BAAD! night pero I wanted to share it for those who are in the Bronx, NYC area.
COMMUNITY LEADERS AND ELECTED OFFICIALS MARCH AND RALLY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST THE LGBTQS COMMUNITIES
Gay and straight leaders march and rally to combat violence against the gay community in New York. Called the LGBTQS United As One March and Rally, this non-political event is being organized by community leaders in the wake of devastating violence against the gay community, including an attack against a gay man in the restroom of the Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement, and the abduction, unlawful imprisonment and sodomy of gay men by a gang in the Bronx. The LGBTQS United As One March and Rally also comes on the heels of suicides by young LGBTQ people related to their sexuality and targeted violence against straight residents for “looking” gay.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
March Assembly Time: 11 AM
March Begins: Noon
Unity March Route : Starting the march at Bronx Community College (University Ave and West 181 Street) to 1910 Osborne Place, Bronx, NY (site of the attack) for a prayer. Then, walking to the steps of the Bronx County Courthouse (161 Street and Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY)
Route Length: Approximately 2 miles
Unity Rally: Bronx Courthouse (East 161 Street and Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY)
Approximate Rally Start Time: 2pm
I wanted to highlight this this morning and bring all of your thoughts to the Sucuzhanay for two reasons apart from the horrible injustice that no court will ever be able to fix. First, the sentencing is happening while New York City finds itself smack in the middle of another wave of anti-Latino/anti-Mexican hate crimes. Certainly, people will be looking to this verdict as a sign of what the NY justice system values the lives of Latinos at. However this is also dangerous, as the NY justice system is the same that incarcerates both Latinos and African-Americans at record numbers. Having working with families who have lost their children to hate crimes and racial violence, I understand the desire and want for the loss of life to come at some cost, for equal protection under the law to really work for once. But I also know that no time behind bars will bring back the Jose’s of the world.
Hakim Scott is no longer the alleged killer of Ecuadorian immigrant businessman José Sucuzhanay. Last Thursday, Hakim Scott was acquitted of a hate crime and murder but convicted of first-degree manslaughter and attempted assault. Tomorrow, Monday May 8, at the Kings County Criminal Court in Brooklyn, NY, the family of the second accused killer, Keith Phoenix and the family of José Sucuzhanay will await the verdict against phoenix who is facing assault, deadly weapon possession, and multiple murder convictions, including second-degree murder as a hate crime convictions.
Scott will be sentenced on June 9th and faces up to 40 years.
I asked Diego Sucuzhanay, José’s brother, via facebook last night , how the family felt about last week’s verdict. He wrote back saying that he felt the verdict showed that the justice system doesn’t work for everyone and how difficult the judicial process has been because it keeps reminding them of the moments right after José and his brother Romel were attacked, especially the first five days José was in the hospital and all the familia tried to be optimistic that he would pull through. The verdict last week was a bitter reminder that their brother will not survive, will never come back regardless of any verdict. But still they hoped that their would be justice which it seemed to me meant a hate crimes conviction. Diego wanted the message against intolerance, racism and xenophobia to be severe and clear to make sure that there are no more José’s. Diego Sucuzhanay said that we have been robbed of justice and by we, he means New York City and society at large hence the title of this post which is a direct quote of what Diego wrote to me.
I’m wondering, as a Latina coming from a more radical place, how do we negotiate the idea of justice in our communities. Last year I wrote about about concerns I had with how this case was being framed, especially with calls for high sentences against men from communities who already are targeted by the prison industrial complex.
There have been more deaths since José’s. There have been transphobic murders and horrific laws in Arizona. When will we link all of this together in a more cohesive way so that the answer to the cries for justice from mourning families doesn’t always end in a jail cell or not.
Although some band members in the musical group Ozomatli have changed, their focus on social justice and human rights through art and musica has not. While reading an article from the Los Angeles Times, I was introduced to the single Gay Vatos In Love from Ozomatli’s fifth album, FIRE AWAY, which is in stores now. Ozomatli does not just create a song about gay men in same gender relationships. They also discuss couples who are not “out” and make connections to love and the murder of Angie Zapata (although not a fully convincing recognition to what trans-misogny is and how this led to her murder, but one of the first times I’ve heard a pop culture reference has mentioned her). Below is an upload of the song with a seperate video (not an official one by Ozomatli).
The other day I wrote about a gay Latino was assaulted here in NYC and after going to the police found himself facing criminal charges and deportation. Ricardo Muñiz’s mother spoke at a press conference in front of the Brooklyn Supreme Court.
The video, from Univision is in Spanish pero I will translate after.
Anchorwoman: A Latina mother says that her son was savagely beaten for being gay and that when he went to press charges, he was the one that ended up behind bars and now could be deported. From New York, Natalia Cruz gives us more details on this case.
Natalia Cruz: With tears, this Mexican mother begs for her son not to be deported.
Jorgelina Aguirre: My son is unjustly in jail, just because he is homosexual. They took all these things to use against him.
Natalia Cruz : The mother says that her son, 23 year old Ricardo Muñiz, went to press charges saying that he had been savagely beaten for being homosexual. The police, allegedly according to Muñiz’s mother, painted Ricardo as the villain.
Jorgeline Aguirre: We came from my country because they would attack him. They discriminated against him. They would beat him. It was never like this though.
Natalia Cruz : Muñiz told the police that last July 18th, he was dancing with a friend in an area bar and there two men starting screaming anti-gay insults at them. When Muñiz walked out on the street with two friends, the alleged aggressors intercepted them with their car.
Karina Claudio from Make the Road NY [full disclosure, I know Karina]: The men got out of the car and started to insult Muñiz and his friends again.
Natalia Cruz: According to Muñiz, he was attacked with fists, a bat, and a belt buckle. However, the alleged attacker, who appears in reports as Jose Cruz, is listed in papers from the District Attorney’s office as the victim. Cruz says that Muñiz and other men attacked him. Cruz was taken to a hospital and put in an induced coma. Jorgelina asks the the case be cleared and the charges dropped against her son.
The police confirmed that Muñiz was arrested August 6th of last year with 4 assault charges, one in the first degree. Muñiz returns to court May 5th. In the meantime, his friend, Danny Valdez, who was also arrested for the incident, was already deported to his country, El Salvador, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office
He states on his website (Spanish first then English translation):
Que pasara de ahora en adelante? Quien sabe. Solo me puedo enfocar en lo que estoy viviendo ahora. Estos años en silencio y reflexión me han fortalecido y me recordaron que el amor vive dentro de mi, que la aceptación la encuentro en mi interior, y que la verdad solo trae la calma. Hoy para mi el significado de la felicidad toma otra dimensión
Ha sido un proceso muy intenso, angustiante y doloroso pero también liberador. Les juro que cada palabra que están leyendo aquí nace de amor, purificación, fortaleza, aceptación y desprendimiento. Que escribir estas líneas es el acercamiento a mi paz interna, parte vital de mi evolución. Hoy ACEPTO MI HOMOSEXUALIDAD como un regalo que me da la vida. ¡Me siento bendecido de ser quien soy!-
These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.
What will happen from now on? It doesn’t matter. I can only focus on what’s happening to me in this moment. The word “happiness” takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.
I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.
Well, ain’t this some sorta shit? Paquita la del Barrio, an old time Mexican singer (she sings rancheros), announced in an interview that she’d rather see her child dead than adopted and raised by teh gays.
I realize La del Barrio is old school, so there’s not much that many of us can probably do or say to change her mind. So instead, I’ll just leave you all with a far more compelling image than dead children.
via Blabbeando: Mexican couples get married!
The attackers, who were also Latinos, called the victim a “f—-t” and punched him numerous times in the face, knocking him down and causing him to suffer a gash on the back of his head, police sources said.
Well, when we believe in peace, there is simply no room for complacency. The murders of James Byrd, Matthew Shepard, Jorge Steven Lopez, Marcelo Lucero, Luis Ramirez and countless others who were victims of violent “hate crimes” should be completely unacceptable to every human being; because we’re all human beings. It’s up to us to change the paradigm. I hear the world “tolerance” thrown around in the media when it comes to cases like the ones I mentioned above. One of the meanings of tolerance is “the capacity to endure pain or hardship.” Another is “the act of allowing something.” To me, those don’t seem to encompass acceptance, by any definition. So how about this? Instead of saying “we need to tolerate diversity” why not say, “we need to accept diversity.”
Yesterday evening there were vigils across the country to remember and demand justice for Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado. Jorge’s mom, Miriam Mercado, sent a message to all who have supported her and her family at this horrific time and as a mother watching this just broke my heart and made me incredibly proud at the same time. Que triste that we have to lose beloved ones and yet we find new strength as community.