Tag Archive: Hate Crime

Open Letter to NJ Newspaper Editors & NJ Journalism Classes

This has nothing to do with New Jersey, except that what happened in Ohio today could happen here any day. And when it happens, how do we tell it? This is for the editors, reporters, and online content directors of Star-Ledger, The Record, APP and all the Gannetts, and all the dailies and weeklies in NJ. And for every college journalism program:

Editors: You should have on speed dial the contact info of a variety of people of different backgrounds and experience. And you should take those calls when they come to your desk. This isn’t about “political correctness”. It’s about basic respect. It’s about treating people – even in death – as people, and not as weirdos.

Today’s headline in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township pond identified

Here is how a young trans woman I know took note of the article on Facebook (edit of the curse word, mine):

And yet again, the media f***s up reporting a trans murder victim. Rest in Peace, Ms. Acoff (I don’t know what your preferred name is).

“Rest in Peace, Ms.Acoff (I don’t know what your preferred name is).” I wouldn’t expect most of us to show the class, and the sensitivity, of the remark above. Editors, included. And I’m aware that journalism requires its practitioners to be careful drawing conclusions. But the body found submerged in that Ohio pond was not “oddly dressed” if you have some understanding of the lives of trans women and trans men – and what apparel and outward appearance can mean in their lives. This is very likely a trans woman who was stabbed, tied to a concrete sinker and dumped into the water. The newspaper is clearly aware of this; it notes she ID’d herself to officials as a woman, and there’s a photo of her in a long, pink wig. I believe – maybe you don’t – that identifying the victim both as a self-identified woman and also as “Carl” is in-bounds, and fair. But the full impact of this post in Cleveland’s paper of record is dehumanizing and contributes to the climate of misunderstanding, fear and hatred that may have put Acoff at risk in the first place, may even have contributed to her murder. The Cleveland Plain Dealer should apologize. And the rest of us should learn from it.

Here is how the film Transamerica is dedicated:

For all people of trans experience. For all people of any experience.

Get it?  

New Jersey, 2008 or Mississippi, 1964?

Promoted by Jason Springer:  This is disturbing.  Here is an SL Story with additional info on the cross burning.

I got some news today that really made me think twice about where I live. As the election season progressed, and it looked more and more like an Obama win, the anger in Warren County became visible. Every election, signs are stolen. But this year, they were stolen, damaged, defaced, destroyed, and burned. In some cases, additional property damage was done. There was a constant stream of people coming into Democratic headquarters reporting these problems.

In one particularly nasty incident, an Obama sign, stapled to a plywood panel and screwed to a tree high off the ground, was torn down. The Obama sign was burned off, and a pornographic portrayal of the candidates was drawn and obscenities scrawled on the plywood. The plywood was nailed back to the tree.  

Hoboken Hate Crime Update

I’ve gotten a lot of calls regarding the bias crime incident that occurred in Hoboken on Friday night (Saturday AM) and I wanted to share with all of you the information that I currently have — some of which you may know . . . some may be news . . . but here it is:

The victims were a couple from Society Hill in Jersey City.  They were attacked by 2 men, Shane Valle, 26, of Hackensack and Felix Fara Saadi, 25, of Mahwah who are both (still as of last night) being held at the Hudson County Jail on $10,000 cash bail (no bond).  The attack occurred around the corner and up a block from The Cage on River Street (about halfway between the corner and the parking garage).  The victims sufferred relatively minor injuries — mostly cuts and bruising (no broken bones).  The report of one of the victims being kicked in the head is true; however, he did not suffer any serious injury as a result. 

I have been working with authorities in Hoboken to do what I can to ensure that both the victims and the perpitrators are appropriately dealt with.  Perps are charged with bias intimidation and simple assault (which to the best of my understanding are appropriate charges under current law).  Under current NJ Law, in order to qualify to be charged with Aggrivated Assault (the next level up in charges) there would have needed to be a deadly weapon involved (Aggrivated Assault also applies to agents of government as well i.e. DCF workers, but that doesn’t apply here).  Under current law (as I understand it) these men are facing up to 6 months in prision on the assault charge and 3-5 years for the bias intimidation charge.  They shouldn’t be walking around any time soon.

I also met with Alan Fox last night and he is working with Cage staff to determine what the best response should be from the bar.

My opinions based the information I’ve been able to gather (regarding some questions I’ve been asked):
Did the cops act appropriately?  Absolutely.  This was a bias attack and there was no hesitation to charge appropriately.  The initial police report went so far as to request that the defendants be held without bail.  I would like to have seen the police able to PREVENT this attack rather than respond to it, but that’s another battle.

Is this incident the fault of The Cage or thier staff?  No.  This occurred around the corner and a block away.  Yes, these guys were coming from The Cage, but the bar’s staff can’t be everywhere in Hoboken.  The only blame here rests on the heads of the 2 assholes who decided to attack a gay couple because they were hugging on a corner.

Is Hoboken unsafe for LGBT patrons?  I don’t think we as a community can paint Hoboken with that brush.  There will always be someone, somewhere looking to cause harm to others.  As I said earlier, I’d like to see a stronger police presence, but I won’t be chased out of the city by two out-of-towners who happen to be small-minded feaks.  (although I do hope they find appropriate cell mates)

What’s Hudson Diversity’s plan in response to this?  The first thing I’m going to do is head to the Cage on Friday night.  The best thing we as a community can do is show that we’re not intimidated by this type of behavior.  I think we should pack the place to the walls to show our support both for Hoboken’s Gay Bar, and for the victims.  HDAC will be talking to local authorities about safety concerns in that area and how best to address them, but that plan will take time.  Outside of that, I’m personally going to head out on Friday night and be PROUD!  Join me?

Walt Boraczek, President
Hudson Diversity Action Council

Possible Hate Crime in Burlington County

Now this is messed up…

The word n—–, in 10-foot letters, was mowed into a grassy lot owned by Edgewater Park.

A township resident thinks this was directed at his 16 year old sister in-law.

Schneider said Kendahl is the only black person in the immediate neighborhood.  Kendahl said she had not experienced racism since she moved here, so she was surprised to see the offensive word.“I was just shocked. I was scared,” Kendahl said.

I didn’t realize this was a problem, but i apparently it’s not an isolated incident…

This isn’t the first time vandals have carved offensive words or symbols into the landscape of Burlington County. Ten years ago, vandals cut a 70-foot swastika into a cornfield in Mansfield and harassed minority residents in northern Bur-lington County.

You must have some serious hate and for that matter free time to do something like this.