LGBTQ community and RC Sheriff demand local hate crime laws: ‘We need to send a message’

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 7:40 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Activists from across The Midlands gathered at the South Carolina State House approximately eight days after an anti-LGBTQ+ attack in Colorado.

Five people were killed and at least 19 were injured during a six-minute shooting rampage at Club Q in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19.

Come Sunday, dozens of advocates gathered at the South Carolina Statehouse to remember the victims of a senseless crime.

“The community is together. We grieve together and we love together. And it’s just a process of healing. And that’s what we’re hoping to convey tonight,” said Jennifer Tague, Field Director of the states AFL-CIO labor union.

Tague spearheaded Sunday’s memorial service which included a candlelight vigil and a series of speeches from community leaders, including Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

“We don’t have a hate crime bill in South Carolina and that is sad. We need to send a message to those in South Carolina that we’re not going to tolerate it,” said Lott on Capitol grounds.

South Carolina and Wyoming are the only states without hate crime laws. The Columbia LGBTQ+ community and Lott say the legislation is long overdue.

“We need to pass a law. And we have to get out and we have to have our voices heard… we have to put people in office who believe like we do,” continued Lott.

The memorial service was followed by a walk to The Capitol Club on Gervais Street, self-defined as the oldest gay bar in South Carolina.

“The haters, they want us to cower. They want us to eventually go back in the closet we have fought years and years to get out of,” said Gouda Judy, showrunner for Capitol Club.

Sunday’s vigil was made possible by the Harriet Hancock Center Foundation, an LGBTQ+ Community Center in Columbia. Organizers invite you to take advantage of its support group and resources in this time of grieving.

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