Pride — and love — in Tyler

Posted on 23 May 2016 at 4:02pm

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About 100 people showed up at Bergfield Park, in the heart of Tyler, Texas, on Sunday for the Deport Hate Bike Ride/Hike and Picnic, according to organizers.

Hannah Morris, who spearheaded the efforts to stage the gathering, explained that the idea for it began after some local residents began seeing a man riding his bike through the city’s Azalea District wearing a t-shirt with the message “Deport LGBT.” But instead of staging an angry rally, organizers called for LGBT people and their allies to come to Bergfeld — the part from which Nicholas West was abducted in 1993 before he was taken to a gravel pit in Noonday and murdered — to for a showing of pride and love.

Participants gathered in the park, then traversed a route about a mile long through the adjacent Azalea District before ending up back at the park for a picnic. It was, Morris said, a huge success.

Jenell Vollmer, who went to high school with Nicholas West and then came out publicly at a rally held after his murder, lives in Austin now. But she went back to Tyler Sunday for the Deport Hate event, and was kind enough to share these  photos and video with Dallas Voice.

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