Monday, April 09, 2007

Florida's Statewide Vigils For Hate Crime Murder Victim Ryan Skipper

Last Tuesday, I wrote about the tragic slaying of a young Florida man named Ryan Skipper, who was targeted for being gay. Two men are now charged with first-degree murder, and authorities are calling it a hate crime.

The excellent and dedicated LGBT advocacy group Equality Florida has arranged statewide vigils, to be held on Saturday, April 14th, in honor of Ryan. The group also hopes to call attention to the unconscionable number of anti-gay hate crimes that take place in Florida. These are despicable, violent, and frequently fatal attacks on our fellow residents, crimes that all too often receive little or no attention from our media or leadership. From Equality Florida's Website:

Ryan's murder was not an isolated incident, but rather the latest in an epidemic of anti-gay hate violence in Florida and around the nation. Anti-gay hate crimes are at their highest level ever in Florida, and second only to racist attacks in overall numbers.

According to the Florida Attorney General's office, hate crimes targeting LGBT Floridians have increased 33% in the most violent categories during the two most recently reported years. The silence of Florida's leadership in the face of this brutal murder cannot go unchallenged.

Melanie sends along a current list of participating cities, times, locations, and contact information for the vigils; they're posted below. (Please visit the Eq.Fl site for further information of if you need to contact a member.)

All vigils will take place on Saturday, April 14th, unless otherwise noted.

Winter Haven: 1:00 pm; Central Park; Central Ave at 4th and 5th Streets, Winter Haven, FL.
Contact: Russell Patterson

Daytona Beach: 7:00 pm; Unity of Daytona Beach--Church of Practical Christianity; 908 Ridgewood Avenue, Holly Hill, FL 32117
Contact: David Wolfe-Sargent

Tampa: 7:00 pm USF; Dream Pool, MLK Jr. Memorial Fountain by the Student Union
Contact: Tamara Wasserman

Jacksonville: 1:00 pm; UU Church of Jacksonville; 7405 Arlington Expressway, Jacksonville, FL

Clearwater: 7:00 pm; On the shores of Peace Pond, Unity Church of Clearwater; 2465 Nursery Road (on the south side of Nursery, between Belcher and US 19)
Contact: Leddy Hammock, Minister, Unity Church of Clearwater

Pensacola: 1:00 pm; Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church; 3130 W Fairfield Dr, Pensacola, FL 32505
Contact: via

West Palm Beach Area: 6:30 pm; Downtown Lake Worth; Gather at Town Hall, Dixie and Lake Ave, for a three-block vigil walk to the park in the center of Downtown
Contact: Allan Hendricks

Fort Lauderdale: 1:00 pm; Gay and Lesbian Community Center; 1717 N. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Contact: Rev. Frank Faine,

New Port Richey: 10:00 am; Orange Park, across from 6533 Circle Blvd.
Contact: Bob Brewer,

Tallahassee: 10:00 am; Front steps of the old State Capitol Building
Contact: Alain Raymond,

Miami: 1:00 pm; Pridelines Youth Services; 180 NE 19th St., Miami; at the corner of NE 19th St. and 2nd Ave.
Contact: Tobias Packer,

Washington , DC: Awaiting permits for Candle Light Vigil in Dupont Circle Park
Contact: Lara Martin,

Also at Shakesville and Pushing Rope.

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