Crime | Florida | Fort Lauderdale | News

Hundreds Attend South Florida Vigil for Slain Gay Teen


A vigil was held late yesterday afternoon on Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale at the site where 17-year-old Simmie Williams was gunned down, just one of two potential hate crimes that occurred in that area last week. The other, of course, was the beating of Melbourne Brunner outside the Floridian restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard.

Simmie2The Sun-Sentinel reports: "They gathered for about an hour on a grassy patch behind the chain link fence where Simmie Williams Jr. was found shot Feb. 22. A pile of teddy bears, flowers and purple votive candles lined the cracked sidewalk, while the state flag and a rainbow flag flapped above in the wind. Amid the group of community leaders, Williams' mom, Denise King, stood silently with a picture of her son in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in the other. A tear ran down her right cheek as activists began to speak."

Simmie3The paper reports that a group of approximately 120 gathered after the vigil at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale to discuss the recent violence: "The crowd contributed more than $3,500 to help pay for Williams' funeral. Paul Rubenstein, executive director of a Fort Lauderdale oncology office, also contributed $4,000 to add to the already-growing Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to an arrest..."

Mayor Jim Naugle, who many blame for engendering an atmosphere of hate toward gay people in that city because of remarks he made last Summer, told the Sun-Sentinel that he stands by the remarks: "The comments were responsible and supported by residents in the city. The city and the police department, we're going to do everything we can to solve the two (recent) crimes."

Vigil for slain teen raises calls for action against gay hate crimes [sun sentinel - with VIDEO]
Activists join sad vigil for a slain teen [miami herald]

AFTER THE JUMP, a video, via Joe.My.God of Matt Foreman speaking briefly about the vigil.

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  1. This is what its going to have to take community activism and outrage at this crime. Take to the streets, block traffic and demand justice, and, if that doesn't work, start packing a gun and let the gay bashers and killers know we aren't going to keep taking the beatings and murders. I'm not at all advocating violence, but, it is getting to the point that its not safe to be gay in this country and walk down the street.

    Angry post? Yep, I'm tired of seeing this day in and day out, beat downs, killings and the bashing's for no reason other than someone is gay. I know gay bashing is the best way to win an election, but, this starting to get out of control, two young men killed in the span of 2 weeks? Come on now, something is wrong, big time.

    Posted by: Sebastian | Feb 29, 2008 9:33:44 AM

  2. sebastian is right, we need to start defending ourselves, start carrying mace or something. we must fight back. i wonder if a civil suit can be lodged against mayor naugle for inciting anti-gay violence.

    Posted by: the queen | Feb 29, 2008 9:48:10 AM

  3. Of course, I agree with both Sebastian and THE QUEEN, especially when it comes to public gay-bashing by public figures.

    Verbal gay-bashing from politicians, preachers (priests, rabbis & imams too), pro athletes, and Reggae, Rock & HipHop Rappers lead to this type of violent gay bashing. These cowardly public figures give the violent thugs on the streets the "OK" to kill gay people. There's more of this violence than we hear about. That's why it's so important to have public figures(Obama & Clinton) who denounce this type of tragic cowardice that results in the lynching of gay people.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 29, 2008 11:37:34 AM

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