Vigil remembers two murdered teens and one Houston hate crime victim

Posted on 23 Nov 2009 at 10:39am

Lighting candles at vigil
Participants light candles during Sunday night’s vigil on Cedar Springs.

About 100 people gathered at the Crossroads on Sunday night to remember two teens murdered and another attacked in three separate attacks that occurred over the last two weeks.

Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, 19, was raped, stabbed, burned and dismembered in Puerto Rico.

Jason Mattison Jr., an openly gay 15-year-old sophomore at the Vivian T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy in Baltimore was found dead last week at his aunt’s house. He had been raped, gagged with a pillowcase and stabbed repeatedly in the head and throat. Then his body was shoved into an upstairs closet at the house.

In Houston, Jayron Martin, 16, was chased down after school and beaten with a metal pipe while eight classmates stood around and watched. He had talked to his principal and the school bus driver about threats repeatedly made against him but neither did anything to intervene. A neighbor who saw someone getting beaten up got his shotgun and broke up the attack. The bus driver has been suspended but the principal has not been.

Bob McCranie organized the rally with help from members of Equality March Texas. Speakers included Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle from Brite Divinity School, Jesse Garcia, Chastity Kirven, McCranie and Beau Heyen. Elizabeth Pax led the group in protest songs.

After the vigil, the group walked with lighted candles from the Crossroads to the monument at Cedar Springs Road and Oak Lawn Avenue and back.

One complaint had been the lack of media coverage of the event, but the local Fox station, the pooled news camera that sends news video to at least four local TV stations as well as several independent film crews were at the event and conducted extensive interviews with organizers and attendees.

Oversized cards were signed and sent to the Houston youth who is recovering from the attack.

Chastity Kirven
Chastity Kirven

Elizabeth Pax
Elizabeth Pax

Vigil

Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle, Brite Divinity School
Stephen V. Sprinkle, Brite Divinity School

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