by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
A group of individuals, not representing any particular nonprofit business or club, have planned a march and rally against violence towards LGBTQ people called OUR QUEER NEIGHBORHOOD, for Saturday at 10 p.m. - midnight.
Organizers say that the march will begin at 10 p.m., with people arriving at Bobby Morris Playfield (astroturf) in Cal Anderson Park at 9:30 p.m. to begin rallying. At 10 p.m. the march will move through the Pike/Pine back to SCC ending with a rally and vigil around 11:30 p.m.
The march will then make a broader circle from the Pike/Pine Corridor to Olive and Broadway.
'The goal is to make our presence known throughout Capitol Hill and stay present on the hill throughout the entirety of Saturday night,' said organizers on the event page created on Facebook for the event at https://www.facebook.com/events/1605558749710445/.
'Our goal is to have a large force marching on the hill and getting the message out: NOT ONE MORE!'
Victim of violence - that is the 'one more' the organizers want to see never happen again. Which is a sentiment shared by many on Capitol Hill. The Gayborhood hasn't felt like itself for quite some time as hordes of people descend on the Hill every Thursday-Sunday to drink and eat and party and fight and piss on the walls and throw trash cans and break things and intimidate and the list sadly goes on. The message must be sent, say organizers, that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated any longer.
Organizers claim that this is not a violent protest. 'We are not responding to their hate with hate,' they say. Oddly though, they ask that people to wear black accented by pink and rainbow for '#queervisibility.' Historically, the LGBTQ community is a come as you are movement where dress codes are not needed and are, in fact, rejected.
'The main chant will be 'NOT ONE MORE,' said march and rally organizers. 'This is a solidarity movement. We are standing in solidarity with every member of the community who has been victimized.'
'Although we cannot control street accessibility as an acknowledgement of those in our community who cannot participate in the march, we propose a candle light vigil be held throughout the evening in front of Odd Fellows to shed light on the most recent act of violence against our community,' said organizers.
The act of violence referenced by organizers is something that's a bit of a mystery. Something happened last Sunday involving a Transgender person, but what, exactly, is in dispute by police officials, members of the community and members of the Transgender movement.
A man allegedly smashed a Transgender person's head into the pavement but their life was spared because a man witnessing the attack intervened to stop the person from being possibly killed. There were rumors of a coma. There were rumors of a drug deal gone badly. What there was not, and what there still is not, are facts, witnesses that have come forward to report the same incident, or the most important to this case - an actual witness to prove that this thing did go down in the first place aside from the man who says he became involved to stop what was happening.
One thing is for sure though. Something did happen. It just seems like nobody can come to an agreement as to what exactly that something was.
According to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), 'Two officers viewed a disturbance around 9:20 p.m. Sunday while working a foot patrol on Capitol Hill. The two individuals involved in the disturbance told police they had been 'sparring' and 'play-fighting,' which escalated into an altercation. Both had sustained minor injuries, but did not require transport for medical treatment. Officers documented the incident and provided a warning about fighting in public before releasing the pair from the scene.'
The witness, Vincent Renart, a waiter who lives and works on the Hill, describes the situation in quite a different way, and says he saw the 'attack' on Sunday at 9 p.m. when he was walking home from Central Co-op at 9 p.m. on Sunday. His description does match the police report on two accounts. The description of the people involved in the altercation and the physical location of the incident. Others have come forward with even more confusing information and the whole thing has turned into a tangled web of conflicting reports.
Renart says a crowd of roughly 20 people formed near the southwest corner of Cal Anderson Park around two people who at first seemed to be 'play fighting,' he told The Stranger.
'After he hit her a couple of times in the face, I was, like, no, this is real,' Renart said. 'Once somebody stops fighting, that's when the fight's done... But the guy kept hitting and kicking him, and hitting his head against the pavement.'
'Basically,' he continued, 'I just saw a Transgender dude get his ass whooped as a whole bunch of people watched.'
Renart said when he saw the person's head get kicked, he intervened and was able to dissuade the assailant from landing more blows.
Still, days later, nothing has been told to media that would allow us to responsibly report this as factual information. There is no victim to speak to, therefore, how can anyone prove a crime like assault happened? To be clear, Seattle Gay News is not saying this did not happen. What we are saying, however, is that without more to corroborate the witness's statement, it would be irresponsible and tantamount of fearmongering to report this as having happened in exactly the way it has been portrayed already.
Organizers of the march and rally say there will be signs available for those who would like to carry one, but that you can feel free to also make your own.
They also reiterate, in all caps, 'REMEMBER THAT OUR MESSAGE IS ONE OF SOLIDARITY FOR THE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE ON CAPITOL HILL AND AROUND SEATTLE.'
Here is the rest of the message from the event organizers, John James Wallace, Danni Askini, Jappa Keppa Ko, Jennifer Popkin, Beth Martini and Yanni Robinson:
'The time has come to let the perpetrators of these acts know this is the last straw. NO MORE! This is not their neighborhood to terrorize and we will no longer be victim to their hate.
The increase in hate crimes, which has come in direct relation to the tech boom in Seattle, has garnered local and even national media attention. Yet the attacks continue to get more and more frequent, while construction explodes and businesses profit. All the while people in our community are becoming casualties. Capitol Hill has changed and is changing; continued attacks on queer individuals can no longer be a byproduct of that change.
The queer and allied residents of Capitol Hill in addition to supporters from surrounding areas must convene when and where these acts of violence have shown to be especially prone to happening. Namely: peak bar-hopping time on and around the Pike/Pine corridor. We must march together to deliver a message to those who come to the place where we have our homes and businesses to hurt those we love and care about that they are not welcome and are not to return.
Action must be quick, concise and visible in direct relation, reaction and retaliation to the problem itself as Pride is less than a month away. A march on the very ground where many in the queer community will be gathering to celebrate it is crucial.
Due to time sensitivity, many details are both coming to fruition and still to be determined. The general plan being to peacefully march around Capitol Hill during peak bar hours to send a message that hateful acts of violence toward queers will NO LONGER BE TOLERATED.
Bearing the aforementioned in mind, in the here and now two things are important to successfully delivering this message.
One being to spread the word to any like-minded individuals you may know who would be interested in participating through any and all channels you have. The second being that if you are interested and able to help, please reach out and do so. The faster we can spread the word and the more support we can get, the better.
In essence, tell your friends, save the date, get ready and stay tuned! We will have more information in the next day or so!'
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