Buffalo's Allentown district calls for end to hate crimes
Buffalo's Allentown district called for an end to hate crimes in a rally held last night at Days Park off of Allen Street in Buffalo, New York. Kitty Lambert of OUTspoken for Equality addressed the crowd of almost 300 people. A recently alleged hate crime victim, Lindsay Harmon, inspired the event.
The rally comes after a recent rash of violent anti-gay incidents in the area. On New Years Eve Lindsey Harmon was attacked leaving a popular lesbian nightclub. She was stabbed in the eye after being hit with a barrage of anti-gay slurs. She's still recovering from her injuries. Twelve hours earlier a 20-year old man was attacked at walden galleria by two women. The assault happened allegedly because they believed he was gay. Now those two women are facing charges.
"Hate crimes are hate", Kitty Lambert said as she addressed he crowd through a megaphone at Days Park off of Allen Street.
Lambert heads the advocacy group OUTspoken For Equality. She says its time for lawmakers to crackdown on such crimes.
"We hope that this evening our legislators understand that we've had enough and its time for change and its really time for change to be put in place and practiced". Lambert told Eyewitness News.
Several city and state lawmakers attended the rally including new Ellicott District Councilmember Curtis Haynes, Jr. and State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt. Hoyt says it's not about creating new hate crimes laws but it's about enforcing the existing ones.
"We have hate crimes laws on the books in New York State and in the City of Buffalo, but we need stronger enforcement not just cameras but people police officers patrolling the streets", Hoyt told the crowd.
Councilmember Haynes just one day after being sworn in condemned the recent incidents.
"When homophobes attack two women peacefully leaving a gay bar everyone of us are attacked: gay, straight, black, white, latino, man, woman, and child", said Haynes.
There was also a message from one of the victims who inspired the rally: Lindsey Harmon. Kitty Lambert read from a letter written by harmon. Harmon talked about the impact the attack has had on her life and vowed to fight against hatred in all it's forms .
"I can assure you that my New Years resolution will be to keep the issue of security and acceptance not just tolerance of all lifestyles in the public eye as much as possible", Lambert read from the letter.
Watch the video reporting, courtesy WIVB, Taking a stand against hate crimes.