In the wake of a brutal attack on an Israeli GLBT community center, local GLBT and Jewish community members will be holding a vigil tonight, Aug. 3, in Dupont Circle.
On Saturday, Aug. 1, a masked man shot attendees of a youth support group at the Aguda Center, the Tel Aviv branch of the Association of LGBT People of Israel, killing two and injuring 10.
“[The vigil] is for people like me, who were really shocked and outraged, to sort of stand together and mourn,” says Joanna Blotner, who’s heading the loose coalition of organizers of the vigil. She also hopes to show solidarity in D.C. with the Aguda Center in Tel Aviv.
The vigil will also provide a forum for some local leaders of community groups to discuss homophobia and safety in D.C.’s Jewish community. Among others, Rabbi Toby Manewith of Bet Mishpachah, a congregation founded by the GLBT community, and Andrew Barnett of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) are slated to speak. Blotner says she wants the vigil to start a conversation on GLBT inclusion in the community.
“It’s really inexcusable for us not to be more involved in combating bigotry,” says Blotner, “especially considering the history of the Jewish people.” She says that the shooting created a need to discuss what she calls a lack of active affirming of GLBT people. “In Israel, everywhere you go, you have a security guard,” says Blotner.
“I think it says a lot that the community center didn’t have the resources to prevent this from happening.” The vigil is scheduled to begin at 8:15 p.m.