The only requests from the family were: 1) That no media should be contacted; 2) That the vigil not be turned into a political rally or showcase and 3) That it be respectful of Eddie and the family.
At the time, I understood that some of these requests as well as their fear that a vigil might turn into a violent protest, were informed by how they understood things in the
The flyer was easy to design. Marlene provided the photo we used. Gathering signatures and sponsors for the vigil through my networks was also relatively easy. We made copies and went out to the gay bars in
Most of the vigil sponsors signed up after I sent out an alert through a Latino LGBT related e-mail list-serv that I run. They included the Audre Lorde Project, the
Unfortunately I also received a particular call from a local community organization leader who had seen one of the flyers who was angry that they were not originally listed and demanded an explanation. I tried to explain that I had based my outreach on the e-mail list and that I would be more than welcome to ad them as sponsors but he would have none of it. To quell the anger, they were added as sponsors as well.
And then, Eddie passed away on
The original prognosis after the attack was guarded but stable. But, over the weeks, it was obvious to some that Eddie’s health was taking a turn for the worst. Some said that the brain damage sustained during the attack and the follow-up operation was so extensive that it was never clear that he would regain full consciousness.
That's when the calls began.
I met with the Garzons one more time. Understandably, they were in deep grief and worried about the fact that a vigil that had been planned to wish for Eddie’s prompt recovery now would be a vigil to mourn his death. In the conversation we had I even proposed canceling the vigil. But the family, still not willing to officially support it, told me to go ahead. They also gave me a photograph of Edgar, which was his mother’s favorite picture. I asked them if I could bring the picture with me to the vigil and I was given a go ahead with one condition: That I would not send it to the press. I did tell them that I had been getting calls from media and politicians and that avoiding having either during the vigil would be difficult. They just said that they trusted me to make sure that whatever happened would honor their son’s life.
- Part 1: The Attack
- Part 2: COLEGA and Eddie Garzon
- Part 3: So what is, exactly, is a 'hate crime'? (and a prayer)