Hundreds of New Yorkers gathered on the chilly Christopher Street Pier tonight to honor the memory of murdered gay teen Jorge Mercado and to call on the federal and Puerto Rican governments to charge his killer with a hate crime. A broad coalition of LGBT, Hispanic, and progressive groups were represented by numerous speakers who spoke in English and Spanish (and more often, both).
Newly elected and openly gay NYC Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) and openly lesbian NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn both took turns reciting the litany of horrific violence rained down upon the community in the last year, followed by the tearful and quavering recounting of such an attack by a survivor. But it was recently installed GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios whose fiery and impassioned bilingual speech that most impressed me.
From “Action Step #5” on a flier handed out to attendees:
“Email the Governor of Puerto Rico, Honorable Luis G. Fortuno and encourage him to make a public statement condemning this violence and ensure that local law enforcement fully investigate the possibility that the individuals responsible for this act be charged with a hate crime. Governor’s Phone: 787-721-7000. Senate President: 787-725-2424 ext. 3003,. Email: [email protected]
I was really impressed at all the young people that turned out and that most of the local news stations bothered to cover the event.
UPDATE: Here’s the speech by GLAAD’s Jarrett Barrios.