We joined three hundred people in College Point, Queens (one of the five boroughs of New York City and one of the most ethnic and racially diverse places in the world) for a rally and march to protest the homophobic attack on Jack Price who remains in the hospital. JoeMyGod has a good account of the protest, and you must read the comments from not only his usual readers, but from the gang members supporting the attackers and from the family of the victim. Some of this is deeply disturbing.
Rally organizers Danny Drumm, Brendan Fay and Marisa Ragonese directed a crowd comprised of locals and folks from outside the neighborhood under heavy police protection.
Unlike many of these rallies, this one was marked by the cordoned presence of a dozen supporters for one of the men accused in the brutal attack, the jailed Danny Rodriguez. Their signs said "Free Danny", "No Snitchin" and "No Hate Crime". We looked into their faces and tried to understand what kind of childhood abuse would produce a person who would tattoo an Old Testament Levitical prohibition of gay sex on his arm. These young people were livid with hatred.
On the other side of the street, where the politicians urged us to peacefully ignore the thugs, I saw only one clergyman, Rev. Charles McCarron, an Episcopal priest. Where was the priest of the local Catholic parish, St. Fidelis? Where were the leaders of the black and Hispanic evangelical churches? Their absence sent a resounding and clear message to the people of College Point: being gay is worse than beating up a person because he is gay. Shame on those church leaders who felt conflicted about whether or not to attend a rally protesting senseless and brutal homophobic violence. There was evidence of Jesus, however. Some of the thugs in the "Free Danny" group wore the image of the crucified Jesus on beads around their necks.
After the break are some photos of the day, a video of organizer Marisa Ragonese who delivered some fine words and more.