August 8, 2012 at 9:44 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Eckington ‘Safety walk’ and rally planned to protest anti-gay attacks

Gay activist Nick McCoy, a resident of the city’s Eckington neighborhood, is calling on the LGBT community to join him at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, for a “safety walk” and rally at the site where a gay male couple was attacked and beaten on July 22.

“I live in that neighborhood,” McCoy told the Blade on Tuesday. “In light of the July 22nd attack on 3rd and T, N.E., and the increasing tension in our neighborhood, Amy Loudermilk and I have been working on putting together a rally and Safety Walk in the Eckington-Bloomingdale neighborhood,” McCoy said in a Facebook posting.

“No one should have to walk in fear on the streets of D.C. because of hate,” he said. “Whenever any community is targeted, we all have a duty to stand together.”

McCoy and other organizers have called on supporters to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Big Bear Café at 1700 1st Street, N.W., which is near 1st and R Street, N.W. He said plans call for participants to walk from the Big Bear to 3rd and T Streets, N.E., where police say gay yoga instructor Michael Hall Jr. and his partner Michael Roike were punched in the face and body by three unidentified male youths.

A police report says the youths shouted anti-gay names at Hall and Roike before they fled the scene. Roike said the suspects fled when a woman who lives in a nearby house and a male friend shouted at the suspects. The report lists the incident as a suspected anti-male homosexual hate crime.

Roike said he and Hall live about two blocks from where they were attacked. He said the two men had just gotten out of an Uber car, which they hired to take them home after a night out at a restaurant and bar on Capitol Hill.

Hall suffered a broken facial bone and fractured jaw at the hands of the attackers which required surgery to treat.

Officials with the local group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), who say they will participate in the Thursday night walk, said the July 22 attack was the latest in a series of recent anti-LGBT assaults that have taken place in the city this year.

“We’re organizing a rally and safety walk through this neighborhood to say no to violence and WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED!” McCoy wrote in his Facebook announcement.

“We will have a start up rally at Big Bear Café and walk down R Street north towards North Capital [Street] in the direction of Lincoln Street toward T Street,” his message says. “We will end where we began at Big Bear Café. We are asking for your support.”

McCoy said representatives GLOV, the D.C. police department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the police department’s Critical Incident Team were scheduled to participate in the event.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Kudos to McCoy, Loudermilk and GLOV for organizing this neighborhood event!

    It sends an incredibly important message on behalf of Eckington’s, Bloomingdale’s and all of Ward 5’s LGBT residents.

    Let’s hope our new Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and other concerned members of the Council can make it, as well. Likewise, MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier, Patrol Services Asst. Chief Diane Groomes and MPD 5D Commander Andy Solberg should attend if they are in town.

    In addition to apprehending the suspects, REAL deterrence– that is, AVOIDING additional anti-LGBT hate crimes– is all about sending would-be hate crimes perpetrators a community’s message that their hateful acts are reprehensible and will not be tolerated in Ward 5, nor anywhere else in the city.

  • Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness Commissioner ANC !B11

    An injustice anywhere affects all of us everywhere. I plan to participate to show solidarity for the GLOV and the LGBT community.

  • Thanks to Nick and Amy for organizing this event. GLAA endorses the rally and safety walk and I will be there. I encourage others to join us to make this important collective statement.

  • Great job – I will be teaching our smoking cessation class tonight at the DC Center – but I will be with you in spirit!

  • No one can attack to anyone feelings..Lesbians have their own life and no crime..

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