Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

WaPo: Anti-Latino/a and Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes Spiral Upward Together

briseniabutton2Washington, DC – The Washington Post reports in a late-breaking story that incidents of bias-related crimes against Latino/a people and LGBT people are rising sharply on seemingly parallel tracks, according to FBI findings.  In a June 16 article entitled “Hate Crimes Rise as Immigration Debate Heats Up,” Spencer Hsu, reporter for WaPo, writes that officials are concerned about the abrupt rise in violent crimes against both groups:  “The FBI reported in October that the number of [total] hate crime incidents dropped in 2007 by about 1 percent, to 7,624. But violence against Latinos and gay people bucked the trend. The number of hate crimes directed at gay men and lesbians increased about 6 percent, from 1,195 to 1,265, the FBI reported.”   It should be noted that the actual rise in hate crimes against LGBT people is actually in excess of 28% in the last year, according to the more comprehensive statistics reported by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.  Shrill voices in the media and organization of xenophobic hate groups on the internet are contributing to this alarming trend.  Most recently, as Mariela Rosario writes for http://www.latina.com, Minutemen stand accused of the murder of a Latino immigrant family.  In a May 30th home invasion attack just now being shared widely in the national media, three members of the anti-immigrant group Minutemen American Defense (MAD) allegedly burst into the Arivaca, AZ house of Raul Junior Flores, 29, and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, and shot them dead.  Flores’ wife using a shotgun returned fire, repelling the attackers, and wounding one of them.  Shawna Forde, 41, Jason Eugene Bush, 34, and Albert Robert Glaxiola, 42, stand accused of the crime.  The stated mission of the Minutemen American Defense is summed up in Forde’s own words, “We will expose and report what we know and find, we will recruit the serious and train the revolutionist, time for words have passed the time for bravery and conviction are now.”  The Pima County (AZ) Sheriff’s Department is still investigating.  The murder of Flores and his young daughter has sparked outrage among Latino/a rights groups.  As The Unfinished Lives Project has previously reported in numerous stories over several months, the tragic

Romel and Diego Sucuzhañay at Brooklyn DA's Press Conference

Romel and Diego Sucuzhañay at Brooklyn DA's Press Conference

victimization of Latino and Latina folk, gay, bi, transgender and straight often converges in a terrible way.  José Sucuzhañay, and his brother, Romel,  Ecuadorans visiting the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY were brutally assaulted on the night of December 7, 2008.  Hakim Scott, 25, and Keith Phoenix, 28, beat the Sucuzhañay brothers with a beer bottle and an aluminum ball bat shouting slurs at them for their ethnicity and their perceived sexual orientation.  The savage attack was apparently motivated by a toxic combined hatred of Latino immigrants and gay people.  The brothers, huddled together against the cold, were walking arm-in-arm from a party.  Ironically, José, who died from his wounds, and his brother Romel, are both heterosexual.  José leaves behind a 10-year-old son, Brian, and a 5-year-old daughter, Joanna, who is living with Down Syndrome.  As an attorney for the Sucuzhañay family told the New York Post, “The family has suffered tremendously. It was a brutal murder.”  Scott and Phoenix have been indicted for second-degree murder as a hate crime by the Brooklyn District Attorney, and await trial.  Often set at odds by “common wisdom” and the media, the Latino/a immigrant community and the LGBT community share a truly common need for unity in the face of irrational hatred of “the other.”  The Ecuadoran media covered the crime widely, putting an important face on anti-LGBT hate crimes in the United States.

June 16, 2009 - Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Arizona, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, gun violence, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, home-invasion, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Mistaken as LGBT, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Racism, Slurs and epithets | , , , , , , , , , ,

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