Heritage Square

This morning, on the way for my Saturday treat of a triple venti hazelnut latte from Starbucks, I noticed an unusual amount of activity in the parking lot near the pagoda pictured above. This is fairly uncommon for a Saturday morning because there usually aren't a ton of people running around downtown and Heritage Square Park isn't exactly a hot spot unless you're homeless. There were police escorts surrounding a large group of middle school-aged students, all holding what appeared to be picket signs. Since I'm pretty much unable to see past my nose without my glasses, I had no idea what they were for. Luckily, I recognized a former classmate from CSUCI and asked him what was going on.
Do you all remember the Serious posts from last week? Perhaps you read on Perez Hilton or CNN about an 8th grader who was shot in the back of the head for being different? Well that young man died. He was robbed of his life because he had a penchant for dressing like the opposite sex. Murdered in front of a classroom full of children. A victim of what was no less than a hate crime.
Today, the members of the Boys and Girls Club of Oxnard were holding a rally to end the violence in our community. Do you know how happy this makes me? How proud? I was covered in goosebumps when Randy told me what was going on.
This is a HUGE step forward for us as a city. My hometown, most often known for its connection to gang violence, was holding a rally to bring awareness to the murder of a gay youth. Gay! Do you know what a huge step this is??? Oxnard has a very large latino populaton. I don't know how much you know of the fairly accurate machismo stereotype of Mexican males, but to see them marching in memory of a homosexual, well it moved me.
There must be awareness and acceptance, not just tolerance. If it took this shooting to bring these things to Oxnard, it was a sad but necessary sacrifice. His life was not in vain. And his death was not without a purpose. Parents, teach your children that hate and violence are not the answer. They are our future and I don't want our future to have to have another story like this one.


Buzz said...

Helluva thing... Very impressive that they'd do that. If the Nard can work towards tolerance, then there's no reason the rest of the country can be the same way. Well Done.

Just such a sad thing that a kid had get executed to set it into motion.


ceedee said...

I am very proud to be from Oxnard. I know we're better than what the stupid little boy did :)
Pssst...could you send those marchers to Philly? We need 'em here too :)

not said...

somehow I had missed the post about the incident. How horrifying. I'm glad that some of the children (and their parents?) are speaking out.