(Here are some thoughts I have been having since the death of Mark Carson)
Last Friday Mark Carson, a 32-year-old African American gay man was shot on the corner of west 8th street and 6th ave. Within a short time, police captured 33-year-old Elliot Morales, and he confessed to the murder. Earlier in the evening Elliot had been bragging about his gun, and was making homophobic comments to strangers.
One of the last things Elliot said to Mark before he shot him was, “Is that your boy?” referring to the man with Mark. “Yes,” Mark answered.
24 hours after the shooting there was a vigil for Mark. People mourned the young man’s passing and spoke about issues of safety, visibility and the need to watch out for each other.
Those who spoke also brought up the need to question hate crime legislation in an effort to work towards real ideas of justice, they brought up the closing of St. Vincent’s and wondered if there had been a hospital closer maybe Mark’s life could have been saved, and they made connections between Mark’s death, and the exceptional and everyday violence experienced by many in this city due to poverty, HIV/AIDS, and policies such as stop and frisk.
Learning more about Mark and Elliot I thought about another case where asserting one’s right to be ended in violence.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 5th 2011 CeCe McDonald and her friends were walking to grocery story when they crossed paths with a group outside of a bar who began berating CeCe and her friends with homophobic, transphobic and racist slurs. Words escalated into physical violence and soon CeCe was bleeding and Dean Schmidt, one of the men who witnesses say was verbally and physically assaulting CeCe and her friends, was dead due to a fatal stab wound.
CeCe was the only arrested that night. She was charged with second-degree murder in Dean’s death. In a plea bargain she accepted a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter. As her supporters say, “in short, CeCe was prosecuted for surviving a violent, racist, transphobic attack.” She is serving 41 months in a men’s prison. The state will not recognize her as a woman.
While there cases are very different, like Mark, CeCe stood up for herself in the face of oppression. While it did not result in the loss of her life, her life chances have been severely reduced. As we hope for justice for Elliot, we need to pray for Dean’s soul. As we mourn Mark’s death we need to be also fighting for CeCe’s life.
In the wake of CeCe’s case over the last two years, and over the last few days after Mark died I have been inspired to see how communities can come together. Vigils have been organized, tough conversations have been had, and people have opened up and been vulnerable with each other, in return others have come to support. I have heard people compare these last few days to early AIDS activism, or the marches after Harvey Milk died.
While I am not sure about that, I do wonder, can we care for each other everyday this way, not just when the violence we know is happening all the time hits the news?
Can we learn to make the love we have for ourselves and each other a practice of everyday freedom?
Can this love be our resistance in the face of death, misguided hate crime legislation, and prison?
Can we create a community of networked and systemic care that rivals the networked systemic violence practiced against us?
Can we love each other en masse on the regular?
There’s a morality to her paintings was a New York Sun article and how I began my day.
It really was nice talking to you last night.
In the daytime I really do sometimes hear the lilt of your voice especially when I’m around cats.
How does your painting fit in the world?
Corner of 3rd and 12th—oh look the moon, like how we first learn to see it maybe and draw it.
Jax, I passed that scowling mannequin: rough and tumble smooth Puck in the pic where I fell for you.
Today he was a frumpy vagabond.
I may have been tracing our second date, subconsciously in reverse:
Or was it just a New York latitude rush?
Gallery opening on 9th and B, then Queerocracy.
Three cookies from Subway were too sweet against the teeth.
Camilo you look tired, I said. BUT you’re still gorgeous.
We are messes. We hug.
I’m cruising history.
Camilo is gonna go make out with this man.
OK I said have fun be safe.
He scampers off and 7th Ave South is lonely, Jax.
Yellow against dusk is lonely not because it is different when you’re not here, but because I am different and you’re not here.
Drunk on the A to Nostrand, I shoulder your shadow. A memory. Who cares if we’re two guys?
API(A) Visibility Project (set 1 of 6)
The Asian Pacific Islander (American), API(A) Visibility Project seeks to dispel stereotypes and myths targeting Asian Americans that continue to marginalize, oppress, and ultimately invisibilize the current condition of Asian Americans. We hope that this project will open the eyes of its viewers and challenge how people view and think of Asian Americans.
The participants in the project are current API(A) identified undergraduate students and professors at the University Of California, Davis.
The project is led by BRIDGE: Pilipin@ Outreach & Retention at the Student Recruitment and Retention Center (SRRC), in partnership with the Cross Cultural Center at UC Davis for the annual Asian Pacific Culture Week (APCW).
I Feel Love, Donna Summer, 1977