Friday, July 29, 2011

WATCH: Legislators Speak at Dedication of Montrose Remembrance Garden

Texas Senators John Whitmire, Mario Gallegos and Rodney Ellis and Representative Garnet Coleman spoke last night at the dedication of the Montrose Remembrance Garden in Houston. The Garden is the brainchild of the Aaron Scheerhoorn Foundation for Change, made possible by the generous support of local business owner Charles Armstrong and the help of the Montrose Counseling Center.

All four spoke at length about the decade-long fight that led Texas to pass hate crimes legislation in 2001, and about the anti-bullying and teen suicide prevention bills passed this session by the legislature. Only Garnet Coleman mentioned Texas' hate crimes statute still excludes the transgender community (an omission he has tried to correct).







The Aaron Scheerhoorn Foundation was created in response to last December's brutal murder of Aaron Scheerhoorn, just blocks from the garden's location. Scheerhoorn was attacked in the Houston "gayborhood" of Montrose. Bleeding from stab wounds, he ran to a nearby bar to ask for assistance. According to witnesses the bar's bouncer refused to allow the dying man access. Scheerhoorn left to seek assistance elsewhere when his attacker caught up with him, finally delivering the fatal blow just feet from the bar's door.

In dedicating the garden organizers made it clear that it was not just in memory for Aaron Scheerhoorn, but in memory of "all victims of violence, victims of hate crimes, and those who were subjected to bullying." The event ended, as the sun set, with a candle-lit reading of the names of dozens of victims of violence and hate from the Houston area, followed by a release of hundreds of white balloons (watch the reading of victims names here).

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