Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter September 5, 2000

Dear Friends,

Our August newsletter suggested we'd be heading back to the salt mines a little sooner than we thought. Again, there's a fair bit of news.

Hardly a month goes by where we do not seem to hear of another soul to be remembered. August was no exception. There was a murder in Tacoma, Washington, which says something about the ideas which led to this website's foundation and the sources of hate. perhaps this may lead us to think of ways out. As one sage (name not remembered) wisely wrote, "answers are easy. Asking the right question's the hard part."

On August 19, a group of youths, aged 11 to 19 were waiting within sight of a convenience store. They had already carried out several muggings, not so much because of anything they could get by robbery, as to enjoy the thrill of being in control of somebody else. They didn't pick randomly. They waited to spot somebody whom seemed to be vulnerable. They didn't have much by way of visible groups to attack: this was entirely personal. On this occasion they beset Erik Toews, and beat him very severely. Erik died a few days afterwards.

There seem to be two ways in which one can become an object of hate and violence. the first, one we rightly have to be concerned about, is the selection of certain groups in our society against whom we can construct some theory that they're inferior in some way. By reason of that, we can project all the worst in us onto them, and then use that projection as a justification.

But there's another dimension. We also pick individuals who are in some way vulnerable as well. And that's a thread worth pursuing. It is true that Matthew Shepard, J.R. Warrne, Steen fenrich and Michael hatch were all gay. But they also had other vulnerabilities which added to their risk. Matthew was small, harmless and not very well. Steen was young and black. J.R. was black and not able to walk well, let alone run. Michael was partially deaf.

Those additional vulnerabilities are what link them with Erik Toews, the Columbine students, and Charlotte Wetzel. Especially Charlotte. Any child not our own seems to run the risk of being thought unimportant because small and weak.

That says something very frightening. Any of us can become a target. And we equally have to ask whether we don't also have that in us which would make us target somebody else. Sometimes, we can be both: Eric Harris and Darren Klebold come to mind. As one of our contacts, Jim Hastings, put it, "hate is an equal opportunity persecutor." News and some good background articles can be found at:

http://www.tribnet.com

Thanks to Phil Realing for telling us about this story.

We mentioned Steen Fenrich. In previous newsletters, we mentioned that Steen's aunt, Doreen C. Jones, had erected a website in his memory. Doreen has now reconstructed the site so as concentrate on bringing young GLBT's to share there stories and experiences about coming out. Doreen has been hosting a chat session on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. eastern Time. The site is:

http://homestead.juno.com/christy0413/Coming out.html

This coming January, the city of Santa Clarita, California, will be holding their Annual Human Relations Mutual Assistance Week. We have received an appeal for help from Cynthia Boyd, who is looking for any video material which can be obtained about any victims of hate and violence. her request is in our guest book.. If you can help, her e-mail address is:

cboyd@santa-clarita.com

As we approach October, we will begin to hear of commemorations of Matthew's murder. We have learned of two, and will pass along any news we hear as we get it.

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY. On October 7,the Metropolitan Tennis Group will be holding the Second Annual Matthew Shepard Memorial Tennis JAM at the National Tennis Center. This doubles tournament is in memory of all victims of hate as well as Matthew.
ST. LOUIS, MO. For the second year in a row, the Metropolitan Community Church in St. Louis will be holding an 18 hour prayer vigil at the exact time that Matthew was tied to the fence. This is again in the memory of all victims of hate, and John Todd, the organizer, is looking for letters from the families of any victims of hate. You can contact John at:

BubbaBear3@aol.com

Be sure to use "18 Hour Vigil" in the subject field. This past month, we were reminded of a site which has letters which might be helpful in contacting legislators about hate crimes. the site is:

http://users.mindex.com/Wayshelter/

And we'd like to remind you again about Mike Batey's case. You can learn more at:

http://connect.to/batey.org

Finally (in case you haven't noticed), David, our talented and indefatigable webmaster has added some more links to our website. We hope you will find them informative and useful. In addition, we now have a photograph of the Matthew Shepard Memorial Quilt's presentation to Judy Shepard, and an archive containing all but the very first of our newsletters.

The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team

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