Attacks on gays prompt 'unity gathering' in Long Beach
Long Beach activists, community leaders and local residents prepared Thursday for what they called a “unity gathering” in the city’s Broadway Corridor in response to a string of attacks on gay men in and around that neighborhood.
The gathering was called by Councilman Robert Garcia and the advocacy group The Center. It was set to start at 6 p.m. at the Hot Java coffee shop on Broadway, near the site of two of the attacks.
"The main message is to let individuals who think that they can come and harass and assault and victimize openly gay and lesbian individuals here in Long Beach [know] that the city does not tolerate that and will not put up with that," said Raul Anorve, who helped organize the event.
Police said there have been three incidents in the last two weeks in which gay men were assaulted in or near the corridor, a neighborhood known for its tight-knit gay and lesbian community.
The suspect in one case has been charged with a hate crime, but the other cases are still under investigation, police said.
While police do not believe the incidents are connected, they have stepped up patrols in the neighborhood.
Organizers said some of the victims of the crimes, along with their friends and family, would be at the gathering.
-- Paloma Esquivel