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Coalition Demands Action, Accountability
by Amy Wooten
2007-06-06

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In hopes of placing pressure on the City to respond to a recent attack, the Coalition for Justice and Respect held a press conference in City Hall June 1, calling for further investigation of a hate crime committed against a Black gay youth, as well as a City Council hearing regarding violence against the Black LGBT community.

According to Coalition for Justice and Respect's Marc Loveless, an 18-year-old Black gay youth was attacked in Hyde Park over two weeks ago. The victim called the police, who took a report of the incident. Later that day, the victim spotted the attacker and called the police again. According to Loveless, the attacker bragged to police that he had 'beat up a faggot boy.' Allegedly, when a supervisory officer was called to the scene, the officer blamed the victim for getting attacked, saying, 'You know the way you are is why you were hit.' The officer then allegedly said he would not deal with the situation and drove off. The attacker was released.

The Coalition for Justice and Respect also demands that the supervising officer be reprimanded for what they call inappropriate behavior.

'We want him identified,' Loveless said. 'We want it made public, and we want him reprimanded.'

The group was formed after a Dec. 31, 2006, shooting on Chicago's South Side, where two masked individuals opened fire in a house commonly known as 'Gay House.' Loveless is outraged that the City showed response following the shooting, yet is taking so long to respond to an attack of a Black gay youth.

'Black lesbians and gays throughout the city have human rights, civil rights and a right not to be a victim to crime,' he continued.

Alongside Loveless was Bob Schwartz of Gay Liberation Network ( GLN ) . The organization also endorses that the supervisory officer be reprimanded and a City Council hearing take place.

'This officer committed the offense of blaming the victim,' Schwartz said. 'It is wrong to blame the victim, and thereby justify this violence.'

'For us to be here in 2007 and to be talking about this means something drastic needs to happen,' Loveless told the media. 'Where does it stop? Do we wait until someone is actually killed?'

According to Loveless, and confirmed by Bill Greaves, City of Chicago's liaison to the LGBT community, police are willing to sit down and talk about the issue. Greaves added that the Chicago Police Department is 'very distressed' about the issue, and has made every attempt to reach the victim, without success. The police have also, according to Greaves, launched an internal investigation, and have reached out to the victim's mother and community-based organization Working for Togetherness, in an effort to reach the victim.

'No one should be harassed in the City of Chicago,' Greaves said. 'But we need the help of everyone.'

PASSAGES: Darren M. 'Mike' Howard

Darren M. 'Mike' Howard, formerly of Dallas and a native of Fort Worth, Texas, passed away April 7 in Chicago. He was 39.

Howard attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where he also interned for two seasons at the Dallas Lyric Opera and worked for the Dallas Grand Opera for a season. Howard was an avid traveler who loved London; visited the museums and cathedrals of every city in his travels; and fell in love with the Caribbean, especially the island of St. Martin.

His organizational skills and creativity led him from a 12-year advertising and public relations career at Tracy-Locke in Dallas to a rewarding career with J.P. Morgan Chase Treasury Marketing Operations Commercial Banking in Chicago.

Howard was preceded in death by Edward B. Allen, his life partner since 2002, and is greatly missed by Miss Lulu Kitty.

Howard was the beloved son of Jean H. Howard of Grand Prairie, Texas, and the late Gerald W. Howard of Albuquerque, N.M. He was the brother of Meadow ( Jason ) Gobert of Dallas and very proud and loving uncle of Harlow Sophia Gobert. He will also be deeply missed by many family members, business associates and friends in the United States and abroad.

A memorial service is being planned for June 9 in Chicago. Those who wish to attend must respond by June 7 to Jean Howard at jean.howard@eds.com or at 773-220-0001.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Howard Brown Health Center, www.howardbrown.org, or to the charity of the donor's choice.


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