Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Last Thursday evening, March 20th, a crowd of 45 people braved the brutally cold weather and gathered on the front steps of the Kingston High School. Not for sports, not for band practice, but for a Candle Light Vigil in memory of a slain Californian student - not unlike so many of our own children.
Lawrence King was murdered for one reason…because he was born gay and he let it be known in a public setting. This 15 year old is the victim of what’s known as a “Hate crime”.
King was shot in the head on February 12th while in class by a classmate, who undoubtedly grew up in a household full of ignorance and hatred toward people they don’t understand.
This event demonstrated what an impact a “Hate Crime” can have on communities throughout this nation. . The vigil was co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center and GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
A quote on the center website: “The murder of Lawrence King is an American tragedy that cannot be allowed to go unnoticed," said Ginny Apuzzo, president of the Center. "Every student has the right to be safe at school. This vigil is intended to honor the memory of a courageous young man who was killed simply for being himself, and to call attention to the deadly results of looking the other way when homophobia makes itself known in our schools."
Among the list of organizations that supported the vigil are PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Family of Lesbians and Gays) of Kingston, YWCA of Ulster County, the Ulster County Mental Health Association, and Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley.
The evening program that followed, included addresses by representatives of the Center, GLSEN and the Kingston High School Gay-Straight Alliance, as well as the Rev. Ralph Merante, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Kingston. For more information visit http://lgbtqcenter.org/sendstudio/link.php?M=223&N=65&L=12