April 14, 2009
Two men were reportedly attacked and called names while walking through grounds at the University of Virginia. This week, a student group is planning their own show of strength.
Seth Kaye, President of Queer and Allied Activism at UVa, is working on planning a stand against hate rally. He says its in response to a recent crime on grounds.
"It was one of my friends...they were walking behind the construction site around the "E" school...and people, five young white guys jumped them," Kaye explains.
Kaye tells us they didn't steal anything that night of April 4, but they yelled at his friend using sexual slurs, hit him, and smashed his cell phone. The victim went to the hospital. The physical wounds maybe gone, but another hurt is deeper and felt by students across this university.
Kaye says, "they were kinda shocked that something like this could happen here, but i think hatred is everywhere... what we're hoping is, people can change their language ...stop saying things like that's so gay."
Kaye hopes this rally will help people make that change. On the Stand Up Against Hatred Facebook page created to get the word out, hundreds wrote they plan on attending.
"We're just hoping the community can come together and say this is not OK, we can't have that on grounds or really anywhere in our society...we're hoping people will realize a lot of people support this, and don't support hate or violence," he says.
A member of the UVa Police Department will be speaking about how to prevent crime in the future. The event will include a moment of silence, and a vigil. Organizers are asking students to wear black or other clothing that supports the cause.
The rally starts at 6:30 Thursday, April 16, at the Amphitheater on grounds.
Police tell us, they are following leads, but not have made any arrests.
If you have any information, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
How serious a problem is homophobia on the UVa grounds? We welcome your comments.
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