Fight OUT Loud news release:
Fight OUT Loud is very disturbed to learn of the recent string of anti-gay crimes in Broward County. First, there was the senseless murder of 17 year-old Simmie Williams Jr, which Police are investigating as a possible hate crime based on his sexual orientation or gender identity. Then, a gay couple was brutally attacked and gay-bashed in the popular tourist area of Las Olas Blvd while having anti-gay slurs screamed at them.
These events point to a very unsettling trend in South Florida. There seems to be an atmosphere of intolerance being created in South Florida. We at Fight OUT Loud cannot help but see the connection between the virulent anti-gay rhetoric of people like Jim Naugle and the Florida4Marriage group and wonder if their continued demonization of the LGBT community is leading to this increase in anti-gay violence. The dangerous, hate-filled words of these people have inflamed violence against innocent members of our community and must not go unchallenged.
We are outraged that this hatred and violence is causing LGBT people to live in fear and feel terrorized by the threat of violence for simply being who they are. This is unacceptable.
No one deserves to be beaten or murdered for who they are. Fight OUT Loud will not let these incidents go unnoticed. We call on EVERY official from every level of government to speak out and say we will not tolerate this violence in our community.
It is time that Florida, and all of America, begin to have the conversation about hate-based violence and the terror that hate crimes inflict. We in the LGBT community refuse to live in fear and will not allow these acts to continue.
We need all people to stand with us against hatred, bigotry, and violence and say “enough is enough.”
Join the coalition of community leaders and organizations as we gather to remember Simmie and stand up against the rising tide of violence Thursday, Feb 28th at 4:30 for a memorial service at the murder site at the 1000 block of Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale.
Immediately following, join community leaders and elected officials for a town hall at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center (1717 N. Andrews Ave.) at 6:30.
Fight OUT Loud is a national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering GLBT individuals and their allies to fight discrimination and hate.