Reflecting on the recently departed summer an alarming and largely undiscussed trend emerges: a wave of violence against our community. On college campuses, busy streets, in gay neighborhoods, parks, and many other spaces across Washington, DC there have been a string of alarming hate crimes. Tracking the locations of these incidents demonstrates that it is a city-wide problem:
And that’s just a small sample of the reported crimes. As you can see, these attacks are happening in high traffic areas and places where people traditionally feel safe. So what are we doing about it?
There are many resources available for information and several organizations are attempting to tackle the issue. This evening in Dupont Circle, which has faced the sharpest increase of hate crimes, there is a free self-defense class put on by a new organization: OutWatch. OutWatch is a community watch group which is attempting to highlight bias-related crimes and to be a vigilant community presence. This week at The DC Center Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) will hold their next meeting, and the center is also promoting a self defense class.
This change has to come from us. Only by educating ourselves on the situation and letting the perpetuators of violence know that we are paying attention can we create the safe spaces we need.
Who’s streets? Our streets.