Tuesday, June 4, 2013
The Pink Panther Movement Comes To Fresno
Written by Leon Velasco
The Pink Panthers Movement, Fresno Chapter is committed to taking back our streets and making them safe for our LGBT brethren to walk in, live in peace, and without fear. Different urban areas have seen an increase in hate crimes thanks in part to greater gains by LGBT people in the areas of civil rights. The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement, Fresno Chapter is here to not only keep the momentum of equality energized, but to do so safely and without putting community members in danger.
We seek to create specific physical protection that must happen here at the local level. We want to ensure our city is safe, as well as our neighborhoods and region. Statistics prove this out—local efforts reduce crime.
The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement is an activist group. We are here to eradicate homophobia, gender profiling, patriarchy, and remove the apathy and arrogance from our youth. The Pink Panthers Movement (PPM) has zero tolerance for hatred and fear brought on by ignorance, the far right-wing, and extreme religious ideologies.
As founder of this chapter, I am a member to several other organizations: The Trevor Project, Gay Central Valley/The Fresno LGBT Community Center, Fresno City College Diversity Club and Trans-E-Motion. I know of hate crimes in our area. I understand many of these cases go unnoticed by law enforcement because the victims live in fear and reporting such cases may put them in further harms way. My partner, Randall Stoll serves as Vice President of Fresno’s Trans-E-Motion.org. He also confirms that Fresno’s Transgender Community has experienced a fair share of violent hate crimes, many unreported.
The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement advocates and rallies when necessary. We use preventative measures to ward off any attempts of hate crimes that may be committed. We have a patrol system plan that is outstanding. Patrol members learn how to be excellent at honing in on potential hate crimes on the street and are trained to be eyewitnesses and report to the collaborating efforts of the local police department. A lot of hate crimes get captured on video on cell phones, digi cams etc… and instead of handed to police we find them on Youtube.
As I pointed out above, it has been documented that when LGBT civil rights gain public milestones, there is a harsh hate crime backlash. This can be witnessed in New York City right now where there is a dramatic rise in hate activity following the gain of marriage equality. The overcrowding of Fresno’s jails leads to a revolving door for many criminals. We have a potentially threatening mix in our community therefore: groups of people with violent tendencies and a cultural environment that would inspire those tendencies to be enacted and targeted on people they feel need to be suppressed.
Soon there will be a decision from the Supreme Court regarding California’s Proposition 8. Because this is likely to be a gain for the LGBT community, felt at the local level, and the environment is such that victims feel intimidated anyway, I was convinced that Fresno was in DIRE need to take preventative measures.
The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement is an all inclusive organization in its protection of rights and advocacy. Our chapter, The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement of Fresno will be collaborating with local and federal law enforcement to ensure that together we work to make our city safe. We believe in the statement: “People are people and every life has value”.
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