Activists, friends, and members of the LGBTQ community gathered in Bushwick last week in the wake of a disturbing anti-gay attack the Sunday before.
According to the NYPD, two men inside Borhan Food Market Deli at 1559 Broadway were targeted by three strangers early Saturday morning. The suspect used hompobhobic slurs before attacking them with a glass bottle and screwdriver, then took the victims’ wallets and phones before fleeing the scene.
On the morning of the rally last Wednesday, police arrested Johathan Carter in connection with the incident. The 31-year-old Bed-Stuy resident faces a long list of charges, included attempted murder, robbery as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime.
The two victims were not a couple, and only one of them is a member of the LGBTQ community. Bodega staff refused to call 911, so the victims sought medical attention. They were treated and listed in stable condition at area hospitals.
Wednesday’s rally in front of the deli served as an opportunity for members of the larger LGBTQ community to cspeak to one another about hate-crimes.
Event organizer Josephine Olivares spoke about the need for solidarity, encouraging members of different communities within Brooklyn to support one another.
“I marched a lot during the Black Lives Matter protests, and there were a lot of gay, lesbian, bixexual, and other LGBTQ people there,” Olivares recalled. “All different cultures need to work together if we want to end discrimination. That includes ending violence against the LGBTQ community, be that misgendering, slurs, or physical attacks.”
Rohaan Smith, who travelled to Halsey Street from the Bronx for the rally, said the 90-minute train ride was worth it to support other members of the LGBTQ community.
“There’s always a sense of collective trauma,” Smith explained. “Seeing something that someone else goes through might remind you of something you’ve been through, so we have to be there to support one another.”
Sandy Nurse, a candidate for City Council in the district where the attack took place, discussed the impact bigotry has in her district.
“An attack on anyone in the LGBTQ community is an attack on everybody here,” she said. “These are our siblings, these are our family members, these are our loved ones, our neighbors, these are people who are with us.”
Nurse encouraged those present at the event to research and sign-up for mutual aid networks in the neighborhood, which are designed to provide a safety net for community members who are afraid of being attacked or targeted.
“Our approach to public safety is always reactionary,” she said. “We need to find ways to proactively protect each other.”
Supporters and police officers gathered in front of the Bushwick Bodega where the attack transpired.