From the "Long Beach Condemns Recent Hate Crimes" Facebook Page:
Over the past 10 days, the Long Beach Police Department has received three separate complaints of assaults that have occurred in a downtown neighborhood, known for its population of gay and lesbian citizens and businesses. Although the geographic location and timing of the incidents are in close proximity, there is no indication that the three incidents are related.
On July 24, 2011, at approximately 5:30 pm, a group of males were walking in the area of Falcon Ave and Broadway when a male approached the group and asked one if he was gay. When the victim responded that he was, the suspect punched him in the face and fled from the location. Responding officers immediately apprehended the suspect, who has now been identified as 22-year-old Jorge Ibarrias, a resident of Torrance. On July 26, the LA County District Attorney's Office filed one felony count of battery with a hate crime enhancement and he remains in custody.
On July 27, shortly after 7:00 pm, a gay male was in the area of Orange Ave. and Broadway when he approached another male who was walking on the sidewalk. The victim attempted to engage the suspect in conversation when the suspect struck the victim, then used a derogatory slur referring to the victim's sexual orientation. After the assault the suspect fled from the location. As of this date, this incident has not been classified as a hate crime and is being reviewed as a possible hate incident.
On July 31, 2011, at approximately 1:30 am, a group of males were walking in the 1800 block of Broadway when they were approached by two males who addressed them with hate slurs. The groups' confrontation escalated into a fight, which ended quickly. The two groups separated and the victims continued to walk towards their residence. While walking, the suspects returned with a larger group and assaulted the victims. Three of the victims sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries.
"Hate crimes are bad...mmmuukaay...."
It was a rally scripted by South Park's Principal Mackey.
At 6pm in Long Beach, CA today, August 4, 2011, about 150 members of the GLBT community gathered with Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Vice Mayor Sujya Lowenthal and various other dignitaries to denounce the recent upturn in hate crimes perpetrated in the Broadway Corridor, the GLBT district of Long Beach, CA.
There was lots of "we are all equal and deserve equal protection" and "no one should be attacked in the streets for who they are" and all kinds of crowd pleasing "I will fight for your and your rights to not be beaten or oppressed" kinds of speeches. But like a Britney Spear's album, it was a lot of style and not much substance.
The crowd was regaled with platitude after platitude, a Congresswoman placating the crowd with the "I'm your champion in Washington" jargon, another community leader pointing out that it was a year ago today Judge Walker in CA ruled Prop. 8 was unconstitutional (and a year later still no marriages, but that was left out), big applause ... lots of applause lines indeed.
I think most people get it. Hate crimes are bad, mmmuukaaay ... No one is for them. The city is appalled, indignant even. Well of course it is.
What couldn't be heard was solutions, but I did get there late.
So, 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 since police are stretched and budgets keep getting cut (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, including Long Beach Gay Pride or any of the others 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 it's 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.
And I wonder why I never go to these things. At least the anitpasta afterwards at Long Beach Pizza was nice. A few tables of gays in there, none from the rally. The people from the rally were to march down Broadway, but given the amount of bars on the way, not many made it to the end.
But that's fitting. This meeting was nothing more than a Pep rally, but one that lacked any real solution as to what to do with the interest or motivation now that it's out in public ready to go. It was nice to see, but didn't do much at all. No one is safer tonight, no one less likely now to be assaulted.
Cities cannot help any minority the way they need to at this point; or the general public for that matter. They're broke. As of today, the United States has more debt than it's GDP ($14.6 trillion versus $14.3 trillion, but what's a trillion here or there). The new debt deal cuts everything not tied down so states and cities will feel the pinch. So it's up to the people to unite and end these types of problems. Private security on a community basis, community patrols. Solutions. Not armed vigilantes. Community patrols, yes, some private security, and why not? If the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan can be patrolled by private security companies like Xe or the former Blackwater, why can't Long Beach? Or Oakland? Or any community in danger. Why can't private business get together, hire private security and make the neighborhood safe when police simply can't; especially a gay-ghetto type business area where if the clients stop coming out of fear, a lot more money than the price of some security will be lost. No, safety isn't just for the rich, but everyone must do their part, police and public, as well as private industry.
Every time a minority gets "normalized" a backlash occurs. Ask Blacks how pleasant it was for them after integration; or now, for that matter. As Gay marriage passes, Don't Ask Don't Tell limps away, public opinion turns to other things and gay isn't so polarizing any more, violence will increase; it's a fact proved by history. How each community responds to that violence is different, but it's time for gay communities across America to figure it out.
Neighborhoods like the Broadway Corridor, the Castro and others must be ready and cannot depend on civic leaders. Start putting some effort in to your own protection.
Otherwise, do a musical number the next time you gather like this, at least then there'd be an entertainment value instead of more of the same; talking about equal rights, equal protection, how violence is wrong, but not doing much to solve the problems.