Gators march against hate
STUDENTS AT the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville called for a March Against Hate on September 20 to protest an anti-LGBT hate crime against a UF professor a week earlier. The march and rally was organized by Pride Student Union, the Gators Coalition for an Inclusive Campus, and UF Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs in response to a homophobic slur etched into the car of a UF law professor.
UF law professor Lee-ford Tritt found the word "faggot" scratched into his driver-side door when he returned to his car after teaching a class. The incident is being treated as a hate crime, and an investigation is in progress.
The march started with 75 participants and ended with a 100-person rally in front of Turlington Hall, the liberal arts building on campus. The action drew many students and community supporters along with organizers from the International Socialist Organization and the UF chapter of Students for a Democratic Society.
There was lot of enthusiasm running through the crowd, which chanted, "The queers united will never be divided" and "Gay, straight, Black, white, same struggle, same fight" as they marched through campus.
This is not the first hate crime on campus. Several years ago, a swastika was spray-painted on a Jewish fraternity house, and more recently, the racial slur "n----r" was written on a petition demanding justice during a rally for Trayvon Martin at UF.
"We need a continuous showing of this force," said Kerry Stern, one of the marchers. "We shouldn't let this be a one-time event."