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|Rep. John Lewis speaks out on attack of gay Atlanta man; will attend Saturday community rally|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|February 10, 2012 13:17|
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a strong ally for LGBT equality, spoke out today on the beating of Brandon White, a young man attacked on Feb. 4 in the Pittsburgh Community for being gay.
“There is not any room in our society for any crime against any citizen simply because of individual differences. All human beings are made by the same hands, so no one has the right to demean, humiliate or beat down another individual because he or she is different," Lewis said in the statement.
"We should begin to see difference as an opportunity to grow, to understand something that is new to us, not as an invitation to violence.
Lewis will also attend a community rally on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the store where the attack took place — 1029 McDaniel St. — organizers announced late Friday.
The rally, named “Communities United for Safety,” is a "partnership with the citizens of the Pittsburgh community and LGBTQ organizations in an effort to make Pittsburgh’s homes and businesses safe and free of hatred and violence, for all people regardless of race, sexual orientation or socio-economic status," states a press release from organizers.
Devin Barrington-Ward of Change Atlanta said he hopes the rally will set the tone for how the community moves forward from the Feb. 4 attack of Brandon White.
“It is my hope that everyone finds their voice and their task in this fight for justice, equality, safety and change after Saturday’s rally. Let us not allow Brandon White’s brutal attack go without proper action to deliver the change needed to make Pittsburgh, members of the LGBTQ community and the entire City of Atlanta safe. It started in Pittsburgh and it will end in Pittsburgh," he said.
In addition to Lewis, also planning on attending the rally are Atlanta City Council Members Michael Julian Bond, Cleta Winslow, Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner and State Sen. Vincent Fort. Partnering organizations include Change Atlanta, the State of Black Gay America Summit, Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association and Georgia Equality.
White spoke out himself about the attack at a Wednesday press conference, labeling the gang members who brutally attacked him as "monsters."
Atlanta Police Chief George Turner has said that two of the three suspects have been identified and warrants are in the works for possible arrests.
Mayor Kasim Reed has offered a $15,000 reward to information leading to the arrests of the suspects, who are believed to be members of the Jack City gang. Atlanta City Council member Cleta Wilson is also putting up $1,000 of her own money.
Atlanta police investigators and the FBI are also working to determine if the attack is a hate crime. The attackers repeatedly called White "faggot" as they punched and kicked him.
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