Tag Archives: vigil

Immigration prayer vigil set for Jan. 20

An immigration prayer vigil will take place in Juneau on Jan. 20, which is Inauguration Day.

An announcement to WiG invited people to attend and “stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

The vigil will take place at the Dodge County Detention Facility at 3 p.m. The facility is at 216 W. Center St. in Juneau.

Organizers expect more than 100 people to attend the rally coordinated by WISDOM, a faith-based organization and affiliate of Gamaliel, which also will be present.

For more information, including car pool opportunities, call contact organizer Bernie Gonzalez at 262-443-7831 or .

Vigil planned for 7 p.m. tonight at Milwaukee City Hall

The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center will join with Mayor Tom Barrett and other organizations for a community vigil remembering those impacted by the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, which occurred at an Orlando gay nightclub early Sunday morning.

The tribute, open to the public, is to be held at 7 p.m. this evening at City Hall, on the corner of Water and Wells Streets. There will be a brief program at 7:30 p.m., and the vigil will be moved into the City Hall rotunda in case of bad weather.

“Today will be remembered as a tragic day not only for the LGBT community, but for the entire nation,” said Karen Gotzler, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center executive director, in a prepared statement.

On Sunday, the final day of Milwaukee PrideFest, the Center offered free crisis counseling on the Summerfest grounds.  Crisis counseling services will continue this week at the center, which is located in the Blatz complex, 1110 N. 2nd Market Street, second floor, from noon to 7 p.m. throughout the week. The Center is located downtown in the Blatz complex at, and counselors can be reached by calling 414-271-2656.

In the center’s press release, Gotzler thanked the Milwaukee Police Department, FBI law enforcement, the Muslim community and many other citizens of Milwaukee for expressing their support throughout the day.

You can donate to support the victims and their families through a fund set up by the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.

Ferguson police stripped of authority as vigils for slain black teen Michael Brown take place from coast to coast

Local police in Ferguson, Missouri, were stripped yesterday of their authority after days of violent clashes during which police used surplus military weapons against crowds protesting the police slaying of an unarmed black teen.

The Missouri Highway Patrol seized control of the St. Louis suburb following a fourth night of angry confrontations Wednesday over the Aug. 9 killing. An unnamed police officer shot Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was set to start college this week, 10 times in the head and chest.

Brown, who was black, was apparently slain after a verbal altercation with the white cop who shot him. Ferguson is 70-percent black, but nearly the entire police force is white.

On Wednesday night, officers in riot gear used tear-gas on the crowd and arrested peaceful black demonstrators in scenes that dredged up nightmare memories of the 1960s black civil rights era. Commandeering armored vehicles, police were equipped with short-barreled 5.56-mm assault rifles that can hit specific targets as far away as 500 meters, according to published reports.

Assessing the accelerating events of the past several days, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon yesterday ordered the highway patrol, led by Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is black, to take control of the situation. Nixon’s decision was announced shortly after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke with Brown’s family and President Barack Obama spoke out publicly about the incident for the first time.

The change in law-enforcement will ensure “that we allow peaceful and appropriate protests, that we use force only when necessary, that we step back a little bit and let some of the energy be felt in this region appropriately,” Nixon said, as quoted by The Associated Press.

Ferguson residents have complained about police officers’ response beginning with the immediate aftermath of Brown’s shooting, when they brought out dogs for crowd control. County polic led both the investigation of Brown’s shooting and attempts to keep the peace in the small city.

County Police Chief Jon Belmar said his officers showed “an incredible amount of restraint” after being showered with rocks and bottles and having their vehicles destroyed.

As with last year’s Trayvon Martin shooting, social media brought international attention to the tragedy. Ferguson spawned a proliferation of hashtags and was the dominant subject yesterday on Twitter, Facebook and other sites, according to the AP.

Journalists and protesters offered real-time pictures, videos and text reports — and the world responded with outrage.

Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer’s weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car. The struggle then spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times.

But Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown when the shooting occurred, had a much different story. He told reporters that the officer ordered them out of the street, then grabbed his friend’s neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He says Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal investigators have interviewed eyewitnesses to the shooting. A person familiar with the matter, who spoke with AP on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said federal authorities have interviewed Johnson.

Rallying communities from coast to coast under the Twitter hashtag #NMOS14, activists organized vigils for Brown in over 100 U.S. communities this evening, including at such historic sites as the St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, Boston Common and New York’s Union Square. The vigils featured a minute of silence at 7:20 p.m. EDT.

“We are not protesting. We are not going to be chanting or anything of that nature,” Chantelle Batiste, an organizer of the vigil at New Orleans’ 225-year-old Lafayette Square, told the local NBC affiliate. “We want to make sure everyone comes like-minded and everyone stays peaceful.”

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FBI assisting in investigating attack on Nebraska lesbian

The FBI has been consulted as police in Lincoln, Neb., continue to investigate an assault on a lesbian in her home early July 22.

The woman told police that three men, wearing ski masks, broke into her home, tied her up, carved anti-gay slurs into her abdomen and arms, poured gasoline on the floor and set the house on fire.

The woman, whose name has been withheld, crawled from the home after the men left and found help at a neighbor’s. Witnesses said she was naked, bleeding and screaming for help at about 4 a.m. July 22.

Lincoln Police Department spokeswoman Katie Flood said there are no suspects in the incident, which authorities are treating as a hate crime.

As news of the crime spread rapidly in Lincoln, a vigil came together on July 22, with hundreds gathering outside the state Capitol Building. Additional vigils were scheduled for July 25 and July 26 in Lincoln and in Omaha.

On July 24, Lincoln police met with FBI agents, but declined to discuss the details. Federal law authorizes the investigation and prosecution of bias crime based on sexual orientation, as authorizes federal authorities to assist local police in bias-crime investigations.

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Nebraska lesbian assaulted, attackers carved slurs into skin

Police in Lincoln, Neb., are investigating an alleged anti-lesbian assault in which three men broke into a woman’s home, tied her up, carved into her skin and set her house on fire.

A candlelight vigil for the woman, whose name has not been publicized, took place at the state Capitol on July 22, according to the Omaha World-Staff newspaper.

Outlinc, a Lincoln gay-rights organization, said in a statement over the weekend that board members have confidence in the police investigation.

Outlinc president Tyler Richard stated: “We are shocked and saddened by the report of an alleged hate crime involving a member of the LGBT community early Sunday morning. Our hearts go out the the victim, her family and close friends. Many in our community are understandably experiencing a great deal of sadness, anger and confusion. We look to our entire community to pull together in this difficult time. Outlinc has full faith in the Lincoln Police Department who has a long history of support for Lincoln’s LGBT community. We trust that their investigation will be fair and complete and we await the results. As we consider the possible impetus for this horrific attack we are reminded more than ever why fairness is vital in our city.”

The police responded to the woman’s home at about 4 a.m. July 22. She reported that men wearing ski masks had broken in and assaulted her.

When police arrived they found the home still on fire, which caused about $200 in damage.

Police declined to say what was carved into the woman’s stomach, but a friend of the victim’s said the words included “dyke” and “slut.”

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D.C. police investigating fatal stabbing

Washington, D.C., police are investigating the fatal stabbing of a transgender woman in northeast Washington.

Police say an officer was flagged down and directed to a bus stop in the 4900 block of East Capitol Street where the woman was unconscious and suffering from a stab wound. The woman, 23-year-old Deoni Jones of Washington, was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead early Feb. 3.

Police are providing a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

A black-and-white video released by police shows a “person of interest” in the case. The video, posted on homicidewatch.org, shows a bearded man with a medium complexion, about 30 to 40 years old, wearing a black jacket over a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. He is seen walking across a street toward a bus stop.

A vigil took place on Feb. 7 with more than 200 people in attendance, including family, friends and anti-violence advocates. Jones’ stepfather, Alvin Bethea, urged witnesses to come forward.

Earlier in the week, the D.C. Trans Coalition reported that at least one other person was at the scene and chased after Jones’ assailant until he realized the seriousness of Jones’ injury.

Jones’ funeral was set for Feb. 11.

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Roe v. Wade vigil planned

The National Organization for Women will hold its annual vigil in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 23, commemorating the 39th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wadedecision affirming women’s constitutional right to abortion.

“For nearly four decades, NOW and women’s rights activists around the country have been fighting to ensure that women have access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including abortion, birth control and prenatal care,” said NOW president Terry O’Neill. “But the struggle continues, and far-right extremists are now ramping up their attacks, passing a record number of state anti-abortion laws just last year, and pressing for complete defunding of family planning clinics.”

The event will take place at 5 p.m. at the Supreme Court, 1 First St. NE., Washington, D.C.

NOW chapters and other organizations will hold events in cities across the United States.

As of early Jan. 21, NOW had not announced an event in Wisconsin.

Man confesses to slaying of Desiree Harrell

A man has confessed to the fatal shooting of Desiree Marie Harrell, a popular and beloved member of Milwaukee’s LGBT community. 

Raymond Earl Baker, 35, told police that he shot Harrell, who was romantically involved with his wife, in the early morning hours of Jan. 2, according to the complaint filed by prosecutors in circuit court. Harrell’s body was found in her car in front of a house at 3836 N. 24th Place. She’d been shot eight times, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office.

A candlelight vigil for Harrell drew more than 200 friends to the site of the shooting on the evening of Jan. 4. Bundled up against the cold, speakers stood before a makeshift shrine of candles and stuffed animals and shared their grief along with happy memories of the woman they knew as “Dee” and “Silky Dee.”

Variously described as a lover, big sister, mentor, protector and friend, Harrell was remembered for her charismatic smile and the way she brought people together.

“She may be gone in flesh, but never from my heart,” said a woman who introduced herself as Brook.

Harrell worked as a bouncer at Sisters and Brothers Place, 4106 W. Lisbon Ave. Friends said the bar, which was owned by Harrell’s family, featured lesbian nights.

But Harrell was best known as the owner of Viva la Femme, a former gay bar in the Walker’s Point neighborhood. That was one of several bars Harrell ran over the years, said longtime friend Lance Hamilton.

“I was there when she opened her first bar,” Hamilton said. “I went through her trials and tribulations, and she went through mine. She was just like my sister.”

Hamilton, like many attending the vigil, said he was heartbroken.

“This is a great loss,” he said. “She was a very popular person, and she’s going to be missed by a whole lot of people.”

In the immediate aftermath of the killing, it was feared that Harrell had been targeted for her sexual orientation, due to her high profile in the community. Harrell reportedly had more than $1,000 in cash with her when her body was found, so robbery was never considered a motive.

In his confession, Baker told police that he was conducting a drug deal in the area when he saw Harrell drive by, and he began following her. He said that when she parked her car, he walked over and shot her. Baker said he was angered by a remark she made, according to the complaint.

Baker led police to the murder weapon, a .40-caliber Glock pistol that he’d thrown in a garbage can near 2503 N. 39th St.

“I’m just happy that he’s been caught and there can be peace for the family now,” said Harrell’s longtime friend Kelly Roldan. “I just wish it had never happened. She opened up an establishment where lesbians could go and be themselves. To take a person like Desiree away from us – it hurts. It hurts the community real bad.”

Mari Santiago Velez, who volunteers to help coordinate security at Milwaukee PrideFest, said “it’s unbelievable that she’s not doing to be there this year.”

“When she’d walk into a room, her smile would brighten up the room,” Velez said. “And she had no tolerance for any kind of hatred. She put people together. She made people friends you wouldn’t think of as friends. She was out for us. Her satisfaction was giving to the world. She loved the world. She loved her community. She embraced everyone.”

Harrell’s was one of four homicides reported in Milwaukee during the first four days of 2012, three of them in the same general area of the city’s northwest side. 

Minn. holds vigil while lawmakers press for anti-bullying law

Minnesota’s largest gay-rights group held an evening vigil on Oct. 14 in support of young people bullied based on their sexual orientation.

OutFront Minnesota’s vigil was held at Loring Park near downtown Minneapolis in response to recent reports of suicides by students in the Anoka-Hennepin school district. The family of some students and advocates said the suicides were prompted by anti-gay bullying.

OutFront Minnesota is calling for Minnesota lawmakers to take up a bill that would craft a uniform anti-bullying policy for all schools in the state. Lawmakers are due to meet soon for a special session to pass a disaster relief bill, and two Minneapolis Democrats said they’ll push for the anti-bullying bill.

State Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Jim Davnie said the recent high-profile cases of bullying that resulted in suicide make the issue an emergency – much like the need to respond to recent victims of floods and a tornado, Dibble said.

“Minnesota has a crisis, but we also have the ability to address that crisis by laying a strong policy foundation and saying degradation of any form, for any reason, will not be tolerated in our schools,” Dibble said in news release.

The bill would compel all Minnesota schools to implement policies that prohibit harassment based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation or a number of other factors.

Minnesota Republicans oppose the legislation.

From WiG and wire reports.