Saturday, March 07, 2009

New Yorkers gather to demand justice in murder of gay couple in Spain

Considering that the call didn't go out until Wednesday night, and that the news of a court acquittal in the murder of two gay men In Spain was only picked up by a few gay blogs US-wise, I'd say that today's gathering outside the Spanish embassy to protest the court's verdict was a success. All in all about 20 to 25 people showed up.

I also have to say that, for me, the greatest thing was to see my friend Karlo Karlo (fifth from right) moved into action by calling on the gathering after being shocked and disgusted by what he read on my blog. Having been to Vigo - where the couple was killed - and considering it as one of his favorite places to visit, Karlo felt a personal duty to do something here in New York.

I was also touched by just who showed up. Dennis deLeon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS, and Heriberto Sanchez-Soto, President of the Hispanic AIDS Forum. Gay USA reporter and ACTUPer Ann Northrop (a personal all-time hero), and other ACTUPers like Bill Dobbs, Emmaia Gelman and John Francis Mulligan. The later two also members of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO), who fight every year for inclusion in the Manhattan Irish Day Parade (they also blog at Irish Queers).

Emmaia was there with her partner and brought their kids along. They pretty much stole the show for most of the afternoon (the sign, written by Karlo, read "Nor Spain, not the world, tolerates as vile a verdict. Shameful!").

Also among those who came: Yet another Irish guy! Brendan Francis Fay (Yikes! How many Irish guys are named Francis?). Brendan I have known, like, forever. We worked decades ago on immigration issues and he has since then become known more for his role in challenging Polish attitudes about same-sex relationships and for honoring the life of gay New York Fire Department Chaplain Mychal Judge in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Erik Bottcher, the LGBT liaison to the New York City Council, and my friends Noel Alicea, John Ozed, Gerardo Piñeda, Daniel Ravelo, Jorge Irizarry, Elyaqim Moshe Adam, and Jusqifabio Flores who publishes a monthly Spanish-language newsletter on NYC Latino LGBT issues called Una Sola Voz (he arrived with his partner as well).

On Karlo's side, he brought along Spaniard artists Carlos Casado and Alfonso Muñoz. So even if there wasn't a huge presence number-wise, the deck was stacked!

Bill Dobbs, who showed up with a sign that read "JUSTICE NOT VENGEANCE" (above) made sure to make a point that while justice should be served in the murders, people should not turn their anger at the verdict into vengeful feelings.

BTW, that's me in the pic speaking to Noel (courtesy of the Ozed guy).

In the meantime, in Vigo, Spain, a thousand persons came out today demanding justice in the murders! Related news (and video) over at the following Spanish-language links:

No comments: