“When my son told me he was gay, I told him, ‘Now, I love you more’. I want to tell the world that hatred is not born with human beings, it is a seed that is planted by adults and is fostered creating a climate of intolerance and violence. We must change our ways and understand that anyone… could have been my son. And I want everybody to know that Jorge Steven was a very much loved son.” That’s Miriam Mercado (seen here with NGLTF’s PR communications director Pedro Julio Serrano), the mother of slain Puerto Rican teen Jorge Steven López Mercado, speaking on the heels of a number of vigils across the nation remembering her son. And it’s echoed by a statement from another mother who feels her pain: Judy Shepard.
The mother of slain LGBT teen Matthew Shepard says via statement:
Dennis and I, and the entire board and staff of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, stand with all who are grieving the loss of Jorge Steven López Mercado in one of the most shockingly brutal hate crimes in Puerto Rico’s history.
While we are grateful to the local law enforcement officials for their swift work to apprehend the suspect in this terrible crime, we remain deeply saddened that yet another family should have to suffer the pain of such a tragedy, and that such breathtaking violence continues to be directed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who are simply trying to live their lives honestly and openly.
For another young person to lose their life and be taken from their family and community due to fear, prejudice and hatred is simply unacceptable. Each of us who believe in freedom and equality must remain vocal, active, and unrelenting in calling for justice.
Our thoughts are with Mr. López, all who knew and loved him, the members of his community and the millions worldwide who have been touched by his senseless death. Our family and the Foundation will continue to work to prevent similar tragedies in any way we can.