As you know, Melissa and a delegation of elected officials and activists made a special trip to Puerto Rico yesterday to denounce the brutal murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado and to call for justice for his family and the Puerto Rican LGBT community. On the trip, Melissa and the delegation met with the family of Jorge Steven, as well as with prominent LGBT activists, legislators and religious leaders.
Among the members of the delegation were City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Council Members Rosie Mendez, Danny Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer, as well as Illinois State Senator Iris Martinez and Pedro Julio Serrano, a leader and activist in the LGBT community.
In the below clip, Pedro Julio and Melissa speak with a reporter about the purpose of the trip (in Spanish):
Click here for another video from Telemundo Puerto Rico.
Melissa and other members of the delegation spoke strongly against Governor Fortuño’s weak response to this vicious act of violence. They called on the governor to unequivocally speak out against the murder of Jorge Steven, and to work so that U.S. and local hate crimes laws are applied to Jorge Steven’s case and all instances of hate crimes in Puerto Rico.
The delegation also met with the family to show their support and solidarity, and to deliver personally the funds raised at events both in New York and Chicago to help cover the funeral costs and legal expenses they have incurred.
The meetings with LGBT activists, elected officials and religious leaders helped strengthen and create linkages which will help members of the delegation to remain active and involved in the struggle for equality in Puerto Rico. As the trial of Jorge Steven’s murderer begins, Melissa and the delegation will continue to watch the development of this case closely, and will keep putting pressure on the government until there is justice.
To read more, take a look at the following articles:
- A Show of Solidarity in Puerto Rico (Gay City News)
- NYC and Chicago lawmakers, activists meet with murdered gay Puerto Rican teenager’s family (Edge United States)
- Ofensiva contra crímenes de odio (El Nuevo Día) — includes video
- EXCLUSIVA: Concejales de NY viajan a PR por crimen de odio (El Diario)
- Officials visit P.R. to support local LGBT community (Puerto Rico Daily Sun)
- E. Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito Leads Trip to Puerto Rico to Meet Slain Gay Teen’s Family (DNAinfo)
- Funcionarios de EE.UU. repudian crímenes de odio (El Nuevo Día)
- Llegan funcionarios de Estados Unidos en apoyo a las comunidades LGBT y crimen de Jorge Steven (Primerahora.com)
- Delegation of activists and politicians meet with murdered gay Puerto Rican teenager’s family