Last night, Long Beach, CA, Mayor Bob Foster joined city councilmembers, Equality California and some 150 members of the local LGBT community at a public gathering on Broadway Avenue, where two of a string of recent assaults on local gay men had occurred. Just last week, on July 31, a group of gay men walking down Broadway were attacked by two men spewing anti-gay slurs. The assailants later returned with a larger group to assault the group again. (Three of the victim sustained serious injuries).
Said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia:
“These atrocious attacks on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are outrageous and have no place in our society. These assaults highlight the bullying against LGBT people that often begins in school and continues into adulthood.
“The events clearly demonstrate the need to continue the public education work to stop the violence and increase understanding of LGBT people. Equality California urges any witnesses to these crimes to report any information immediately to the police.”
Not everyone present was impressed by the show of solidarity, however. Openly gay radio host Charles Karel Bouley (a.k.a. Karel) wrote in his blog that:
The crowd was regaled with platitude after platitude… After the speeches I spoke to Councilwoman Lowenthal and asked if I missed the part about increased police patrol (no, that wasn’t really addressed) or the part about forming a coalition of businesses in the Corridor to hire private security to have an extra layer of protection… (no, but that’s a good agenda item for the meeting with business owners coming up I’m told); I asked if any of the five organizations represented… had enlisted volunteers to walk and patrol the streets at key hours to be on the look out for possible offenders or to report any incidents (no, none had been recruited so far).
So, in other words, this was a feel good rally designed to let the gays feel like they’re doing something, let the city feel like its’ doing something, politicians to let the community know they are their friend and no solutions as to how to stop someone from getting their teeth knocked out this weekend.
Is Karel right? Is the solution to take matters into our own hands? We leave it to you in the comments.