Yesterday, to raise awareness of violence targeting gay people, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts declared, "I want to come together as a community and make sure we connect and do the right things for every part of our community."
"If there's more that we can do, if there's more that I can do, I am here to serve you," he said at the rally, held outside the liquor store where Kenni Shaw was beaten on Christmas.(Before and after, seen at the right.)
The police can't yet prove this was an anti-gay attack, and Batts told The Baltimore Sun the evidence does not point to one, but that does not mean that this is not a perfect opportunity to broaden Baltimore's understanding of hate crimes.
Rally organizer Rev. Kinji Scott, a gay Baptist preacher, told the paper, "In our community in the past we've had people beat, raped and murdered, but we've not had much action in terms of violence against black gay men. [And] you have Kenni Shaw who is willing to stand up when most people are quiet and afraid."
It wasn't a particularly large rally - maybe about 40 people - but it's a start, and Batts' apparent commitment to using this as a positive, learning experience will hopefully make a huge impact.