An official with an LGBT-friendly sports league announced he and others were organizing a candlelit ‘Vigil Against Hate’ scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at Stead Park near Dupont Circle in response to an anti-gay attack early Sunday morning in the U Street entertainment district.
D.C. police on Monday released a video that captured part of the attack, in which three unidentified male suspects punched and kicked two gay men around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, April 15, near the intersection of 10th and U Streets, N.W. Police said one or more of the attackers shouted anti-gay slurs.
The two victims were treated and released from Howard University Hospital, with one suffering a broken nose and chipped tooth and the other a concussion after being knocked unconscious.
Fox 5 News reported that someone witnessing the incident unfolding used a cell phone to capture part of it on video and posted the video on Twitter.
“Two of our own were viciously attacked in full view of cameras, witnesses and passersby who felt posting to Twitter was more important than stopping an assault that left one of them lying in U Street unconscious, and the other bloodied nearby with a busted nose,” said Jerry Blackmon, the lead organizer of the vigil, in a Facebook posting.
“This candlelit Vigil Against Violence is a visible expression of solidarity with the two members of our community who were viciously attacked,” Blackmon said. “This is the first of a series of events that will, in fact, be what I’m calling a ‘Muscular Response’ to end this violence once and for all,” he said.
Added Blackmon: “It is 2018. We will not stand for this. We have had enough.”
Blackmon said he was aware of at least one other attack against two gay men in the U Street entertainment area that reportedly occurred about two weeks ago. Four gay bars are located within two blocks from where the most recent attack occurred.
Stead Park is located near the intersection of 17th and P Streets, N.W. directly behind the 17th Street gay bar JR.’s. Blackmon said JR.’s would be donating 175 LED candles that will be distributed to people attending the vigil.
He said among those tentatively scheduled to speak at the vigil were transgender rights advocate Ruby Corado and D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit. Local drag entertainer Kristina Kelly was expected to serve as emcee for the event, according to Blackmon.