Chris Farris and Todd Metrokin, co-chairs of the newly re-formed Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), met with D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, and Acting Lieutenant Brett Parson, on Friday, Jan. 16, in an effort to come up with solutions regarding violence against GLBT people in the city.
Shortly after the meeting, Farris described the mayor as being ”engaged and responsive” during the 20-minute discussion in Lanier’s office. Farris was disappointed, however, that the mayor did not agree to give a public statement.
”Leadership on an issue starts at the top,” Farris said. ”He is the top. If the mayor publicly acknowledges the issue and pledges all necessary city resources to fight it, that sends a very strong signal across the entire city that anti-GLBT violence is not acceptable. I want that message heard loudly and clearly in all eight wards. Unfortunately the mayor is not inclined to make such a statement.”
Still, Farris said he is optimistic about the ”very important commitments” to which both Fenty and Lanier agreed. These include the mayor’s commitment to acknowledge the existence of a requirement under current D.C. law to supply an annual hate-crime report to the City Council, which Farris says has been largely ignored; setting goals to reduce GLBT-related harassment in D.C. schools; and allowing members of GLOV to meet with the next U.S. Attorney for D.C., once named.
”That meeting is crucial to leading to a reduction in anti-GLBT violence,” Farris says. ”I am not pleased with the decisions I’ve seen made in hate crimes cases that have been handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
GLOV called for the meeting following the death of local gay resident, Durval Martins, who was shot while walking home on Tuesday, Dec. 16. In the past several months, a number of attacks against GLBT people — including GLOV’s Metrokin, badly beaten in July, and Tony Randolph Hunter, killed in September — have galvanized the gay community.
Look for further coverage of this meeting in the Jan. 22 issue of Metro Weekly. For more about GLOV, visit www.glovdc.org.