Equality Federation regrets to report that several organizations, including two Federation member groups, have been targeted by acts of vandalism. Someone smashed a window of Equality Florida’s Orlando office in late February. On March 4th, Garden State Equality (NJ) faced a similar attack. On March 6th, someone fired a pellet gun at The Equality Center in Tulsa Oklahoma, and later that day someone walked into their office shouting profanities.
“I am sickened, yet not surprised, by the bullet holes that now riddle the front of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center,” Geoffrey Brewster, Oklahomans for Equality board president, said in a statement. “They are the latest reminder of the deep-seated hatred some individuals have towards the LGBTQ community.”
Equality Florida’s Development Director Michael Farmer told the Orlando Sentinel, “We see this national climate where minority businesses and worship centers are getting bomb threats and being vandalized. I hate to think that this is a piece of that but it’s obvious someone selected our office and did this.”
Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality said, “This kind of incident shows that hate knows no boundaries. It is not restricted by geography, even in a state as historically progressive as ours. While we have been shaken by this attack, the LGBT community in New Jersey will not be intimidated, nor will it be silenced. We will continue to fight for equality for all our members, and for any individual or group who finds themselves the victim of a similar hateful and dangerous act.”
We are grateful that no one was hurt in any of these attacks. We know that discrimination and acts of violence toward minority communities, including bomb threats at Jewish centers, vandalism at Jewish cemeteries, and recent attacks on Indian Americans, has spiked in concert with the discriminatory rhetoric of the new Administration. Equality Federation will host safety and security trainings and continues to stand in solidarity with every person and community targeted for hatred or violence.