What to do about Richmond hate crime

Last week a woman was attacked and raped in Richmond by four men who apparently targeted her for being a lesbian. (Read the Associated Press story and the KCBS story.)  

Even though I know most sexual assaults are committed by people known by their victims, for me personally, I felt scared and powerless reading about this random attack. I was also angry. 
While I was just having these feelings (ok, ignoring them) and going about my life, amazing activists and organizers were working behind the scenes. Thanks to them, the rest of us don’t have to feel powerless. Here are a few things we can do right now:
GIVE directly to the survivor of the attack by donating to a fund for her set up by her community’s rape crisis center, in response to the Richmond community’s spontaneous outpouring of support. Write “Richmond Jane Doe” on the check and mail it to Community Violence Solutions (CVS), 2101 Van Ness St., San Pablo, Calif., 94806.  
BEAR WITNESS at a peaceful vigil in Richmond scheduled for Saturday night, Dec. 27.  More information is below.
STAY SAFE by reading the community alert issued by Community United Against Violence (CUAV) of San Francisco. Here it is as a Word document, for easy forwarding, or read on below.  
GIVE AGAIN: A check written now to CVSCUAV, or your own local rape crisis / anti-hate-crime organization will support the amazing work these groups do in preventing assaults and supporting assault survivors year-round. 
TELL WHAT YOU KNOW: The Richmond police are offering a $10,000 reward. Read descriptions of the suspects in this article and call Detective Yesenia Rogers at 510-672-1718 if you have any information.
SPREAD THE WORD. Share this and other information with your loved ones so that we can all be as safe and powerful as possible in this path we walk.
Be well, everyone.
~~~

CUAV COMMUNITY ALERT

Community Vigil for Peace and Healing

Where:  1500 Visalia Avenue, Richmond, CA (near Richmond Bart Station)

When:          Saturday, December 27, 2008, 9:30pm-10pm

What:          Peaceful vigil in response to hate-motivated gang-rape


>Alert:            Members of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Intersexed communities will hold a peaceful vigil with support from Hand to Hand Martial Arts Center, at the location where a lesbian woman was raped by four men on Saturday December 13th 2008. LGBTQQI community members and all allies are welcome to come join in peace, healing, and support for the survivor and her courage in speaking out about the violence that was perpetrated against her.

People can bring a candle and are encouraged to carpool or take BART or walk-together.  For more information regarding the incident in question please go to: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/21/BAV714SBA1.DTL

Safety Tips:

  • Reporting Violence / Seeking Emotional Support - If you or someone else experiences Anti-LGBTQQI hate violence and/or sexual assault please contact CUAV’s 24 hour crisis line at (415) 333-4357 (HELP). Sexual assault survivors can also call San Francisco Women Against Rape at (415) 647-7273. If you have been sexually assaulted, it is recommended that medical attention be sought within 72 hours of the assault.  If you need immediate assistance call 911 for help. Remember, you are not alone!
  • Safety Buddies - Make a plan with a friend, neighbor, or co-worker who knows where you will be and what to do if you need help. Keep an eye on each other if you are going out together.
  • Call for Help - Bring a whistle, a fully-charged cell phone, or just shout to get the attention of people around you.
  • Buy Your Own! - Get your own drinks and take ‘em with you! Never leave drinks unattended.

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