Main | Wednesday, July 14, 2010

STATEN ISLAND: Hate Crime Victims Speak Out To City Leaders

At a meeting attended by state reps, city council members, and the NYPD, yesterday two gay men spoke out about about being the victims of an anti-gay assault at a Staten Island restaurant.
Luis Vieira, 47, and his partner, Richard Vieira, 39, addressed a meeting organized by the Staten Island LGBT Center, Tompkinsville, in response to the brutal beating to which they were subjected last week by a large group of African Americans at the White Castle restaurant on Bay Street. The NYPD is investigating the early-morning July 7 attack as a hate crime. In the presence of 70-plus supporters, the couple of 13 years' standing held hands and overcame some initial discomfort. Richard Vieira's eye was blacked and his arm was in a sling. "There are a lot of questions that need to be answered" in respect of the assault, said Luis Vieira, who noted that he grew up in Alabama when pro-segregationist George Wallace was governor. "[Do] you honestly think you can intimidate me or my partner to not put our face out there and let it be known what is going on in the community?" he asked rhetorically. The outrage has lit a fire under the LGBT community. "The fact we can still have hate crimes based on race, gender, ethnicity and sexuality -- it's disturbing," said Imani Rodriguez of Stapleton. "It is disturbing that my children are growing up in these times that I still have to watch my back and the back of my lesbian lover."

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