Saturday, June 17, 2006

Kevin Aviance speaks: Photos from today's anti-violence rally

- for more photos go here & video here -

So today we headed to the anti-LGBT hate violence march and rally organized by the
New York City Anti-Violence Project and other community organizations and leaders in the wake of some recent attacks against LGBT people throughout the city (including the June 10th attack against singer Kevin Aviance).

From top to bottom:

Kevin Aviance actually joined the rally at the end of the day and addressed the crowd that had gathered at Sheridan Square on Christopher Street. He was able to address the crowd directly and thank people for their love and support (and pass out some of his CD's and sign autographs for fans). Today's New York Daily News reports that the singer did not have health insurance at the time of the attack (which left him with a broken jaw) . AVP is asking people to make donations.

There was actually a pretty big crowd that assembled in the afternoon at 1st Avenue and 14th Street which seemed to be made up, mostly, by East Village residents. Unfortunately, I have been at a few of these, but it's still interesting how the make-up of the crowd changes depending on the borough.

There was some trans and drag presence as well but less visible than I would have thought, this being the East and West Village.

Some also reminded others that attacks have happened throughout the city and not just in Manhattan - that's Norman Candelario flashing the Spanish language sign. It reads: "From the East Village to Astoria, Jackson Heights, Washington Heights, Harlem [and] Fordham, no one is safe unless everyone is safe."

At Sheridan Square, Hedda Lettuce, who led the marchers from the East Village to the West Village, had to climb up a traffic light when a speaker's podium failed to materialize.

A few people started to leave during the speeches but a large crowd still remained.

Caught up with my friend, Edgar Rodriguez, who I hadn't seen in a couple of years. He once led the Gay Officers Action League but has since retired from the NYPD and seems to be enjoying retirement. He was particularly helpful in the past with helping to get the Police Department to focus on other specific hate crimes against the LGBT community in the city.

Finally, someone in the crowd decided to also send a subtle message.

Also there: Of course, the New York City Anti-Violence Project crew, whose banner led the march, and their Executive Director Clarence Patton. Emanuel Xavier, himself attacked a few months back, read a poem about that experience once the crowd had reached Sheridan Square. Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, did not address the crowd. John K. from J's Theater also writes about the march and rally here (and has a few more pics as well). My friends Krishna Stone and Noel Alicea from GMHC. Hispanic AIDS Forum Executive Director Heriberto Sanchez Soto and a crew of guys from the agency showing up in force. Queens immigration advocate Brandon Fay. Members of the Audre Lorde Project. Trans advocate and political advocate Melissa Skars. Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center, which provides assiatance to queer homeless youth, who was promoting a new campaign asking for tolerance for LGBT teens. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Councilmember and long-time political leader Karen Burstein who were the only political advocates to address the crowd (NYC Councilmember Rosie Mendez was around as well). Ms. Bursteinn was there on behalf of Sean P. Maloney, the openly gay candidate for the State's Attorney General seat. Staffers from the Maloney campaign were also all over the place. Some pouty porn star who left a few people scratching their heads with his comments (Tommy Rico compares him to Zoolander here - funeee!).

Most movingly, Stonewall veteran Bob Kohler, who recently turned 80 years old, was standing by the side of Seventh Avenue as the crowd marched by. Some people went over to say hi and he seemed a bit stunned by the size of the crowd. He wanted to know what was going on. When we told him why people were marching he gave us a huge smile and simply said "That's great! That's simply great."


Anonymous said...

Also present was Larry Lyons, who -despite his frantic waving - was unable to catch Andres' eye. =oP

Anonymous said...

Very nice recap, thank you. I regret not having been able to get down to the march.