This is a follow-up to a diary I wrote about a hate crime that hit close to home. To read my original diary, click here.
Oklahoma is just one of 17 states in the union that does not provide specific protection in its existing hate crimes laws for GLBT residents who are victimized by even the most obvious of hate crimes.
A man named Robert Stotler who lives with his partner in East Tulsa has seen his home vandalized with swastika-like symbols and threatening, homophobic messages. The first time it happened, the graffiti said "I'll be back." And the person or persons responsible did indeed come back to threaten and destroy.
If this had been the home of a black woman, or a Native American man, or a Jewish family, the police would treat the incident as a hate crime. But because the protection of the laws do not extend to GLBTs, they have no choice but to treat this as though it were just some random act of vandalism.
If you read my previous diary, you can see this was anything but random.
Here's where the update comes in. An organization called Oklahomans for Equality has stepped in, and they sent me an e-mail after I contacted them the day I wrote my diary.
Oklahomans for Equality needs your support. In order to effectively advocate on behalf of Robert Stotler and all other LGBT hate crime victims, OkEq is launching a campaign to strengthen and broaden Oklahoma hate crime laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
This will be a difficult task in a state where lawmakers have
unsuccessfully introduced four different bills aimed at making our statutes more inclusive: none of those bills even received a committee
hearing. Oklahoma remains one of only a handful of states whose hate crime laws do not protect LGBT citizens and we will need your help to
change that law.
If you have been as touched by this story as I have been and you are so inclined, you may donate here.
The e-mail goes on to say that with enough support, Oklahomans for Equality will lobby the state legislature, collaborate with national and local LGBT and non-LGBT advocacy organizations to ensure that a well-written bill gets its chance to be discusses in committee. And with any luck, a full floor vote will be held on the LGBT-inclusive bill.
The words Gay Must Go spray-painted across the front of Robert Stotler and his partner's home started a conversation. Please act now to provide Oklahomans for Equality the resources needed to ensure that those words don't become the final word in Oklahoma's position toward the thousands of LGBT individuals and families who call this state home.
For more information, please contact:
Oklahomans for Equality
OKLAHOMANS FOR EQUALITY
Dennis R. Neil Equality Center
621 E. 4th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
I know it's not much, but sometimes big change can happen from small actions. One thing is for sure. Robert Stotler's home being attacked is not an isolated incident. It will happen again if we remain quiet.
Thanks for reading. If you have any other ideas of something that can be done, I am open to hearing all about it.