Thursday, June 21, 2007

New York City Council Honors Hate Crimes Victims

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn [D-Chelsea] paused to remember Michael Sandy, Rashawn Brazell, Eddie Garzon and other victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes during last night's annual City Council LGBT Pride event at City Hall. Perhaps the most poignant moment came as Rashawn Brazell's mother, Desire Brazell, emotionally accepted a plaque from Quinn and City Council Member Rosie Mendez [D-Lower East Side] for her work to establish a memorial scholarship in memory of her murdered son.

"This is another example of a family in tragedy who came together," Quinn said before she honored Brazell and Larry Lyons. "This is another example of people who could have let themselves be defined as victims who defined themselves as survivors."

Pride remains a time to more or less celebrate the LGBT movement and LGBT Americans themselves. Debate continues to rage as to whether this annual pink fete remains relevant in 21st century gay America. Quinn and her City Council colleagues chose to remember those who lost their lives because of hate violence in their city. Pride also presents gay New Yorkers a reminder they are not immune to discrimination -- and even persecution -- simply because they live in the city. Everyone has a responsibility to stand up and to work to end these horrendous atrocities. Desire Brazell herself served as that stark reminder last night.

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