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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hundreds Attend Rally In Vancouver To Support Gay-bashing Victim, Jordan Smith

Great turn out for the anti-violence rally in Vancouver's West End. Reportedly 600 people took to the streets waving rainbow flags on Thanksgiving Sunday for the The Holding Hands for Justice. The march was organized by many concerned members of the local community and The Centre for Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual People. The Centre executive director Jennifer Breakspear said that the rally was a way for everyone to show their "solidarity and support" for Jordan Smith.

Below is an excerpt about the event in a report by Vancouver Sun:
Jordan Smith, 27, was attacked in September as he walked down Davie Street holding hands with a male friend. Smith was punched and his attackers voiced obscenities about gays. Michael Kandola, 20, is facing charges of assault causing bodily harm in the attack. The Vancouver police department has recommended that the case be treated as a hate crime. The Criminal Code of Canada allows courts to impose heavier sentences for cases considered hate crimes.

Smith, who underwent surgery for a broken jaw, was unable to attend the event, which began with a march from English Bay down Davie Street to Thurlow, where the rally was held at the site of the attack. However, he wrote a statement about the effect of the attack. "This event has shaken me to the core," he said in the statement, which was read out to the crowd of about 600 by his close friend Greg Chute. "I was scared to be open completely before this incident," his statement said. But he said he is now openly "proud to be gay," and that he hopes all members of the community are able to "live openly and freely without the stigma that still exists."

With just days to go before the federal election, many politicians attended the rally, carried rainbow flags and handed out leaflets. One politician who said he was there for more personal reasons was openly gay park board member Spencer Herbert (pictured at right), who is running as an NDP candidate in the Vancouver-Burrard provincial byelection to be held Oct. 29. "I've been threatened, my partner was chased. This is about taking to the streets and holding hands for justice." READ MORE

MORE MEDIA COVERAGE

  • Gay man's jaw broken during vicious attack in Davie Village
  • Gay man undergoes surgery after he was attacked on Davie St
  • Recent gay bashing in Vancouver led to broken teeth, another victim says
  • Gay-bashing incident was hate crime, police say
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