March 28, 2017 at 9:29 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Casa Ruby fundraiser at JR.’s pulls in $17,000
David Perruzza, JR's, Gay News, Washington Blade, Casa Ruby

JR.’s manager David Perruzza organized a fundraiser to benefit Casa Ruby. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A fundraiser on March 23 at the 17th Street, N.W. gay bar JR.’s drew about 150 people and pulled in more than $17,000 for Casa Ruby, the D.C. LGBT community services center.

The fundraiser, organized by JR.’s manager David Perruzza, took place less than two weeks after an attacker smashed the front door to Casa Ruby’s offices on Georgia Avenue, N.W., assaulted a transgender woman, and shouted anti-trans slurs and threats at the center’s clients.

“I know the only way we can stand against hate and intolerance is by coming together and raising our voices,” said Ruby Corado, Casa Ruby’s founder and executive director, while standing amid the overflowing crowd at the JR.’s fundraiser.

“And the people who showed up today are not only contributing their money but they’re also coming together to say to the people out there we’re standing together against violence,” she said.

Perruzza announced in a Go Fund Me campaign he created that the money would help Casa Ruby replace its damaged front door with a stronger, more secure security system that would ideally prevent another attacker from breaking open the door.

He said that through people attending the fundraiser, through purchases in a silent auction held at the bar during the event, and through the Go Fund Me site, a total of $17,902 was raised as of March 23.

D.C. police on March 13 arrested Andrew J. Cook, 20, of Southeast Washington on charges of destruction of property, simple assault, and making threats to do bodily harm in connection with an incident at Casa Ruby’s offices on Georgia Avenue, N.W., one day earlier.

Corado said Cook, who identifies as straight, had been a visitor at Casa Ruby during the past several weeks prior to the incident and suddenly became violent after accusing some of the trans women of “talking about him,” according to a police arrest affidavit.

A D.C. Superior Court judge on March 14 released Cook from jail on his own recognizance pending a hearing scheduled for April 3.

“Since the week of the incident there have been hundreds of people sending us love cards, making calls, emailing and sending messages on Facebook and other social networks, letting us know that we’re not alone,” Corado said. “So I take this moment as the coming together of our LGBT community to fight hate.”

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

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