Thursday, November 19, 2009

I HATE hate!

This post is dedicated to
Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado,
(August 13, 1990 – November 13, 2009)
and every other victim of a hate crime.

Today I will share my personal Work-In with you. I am writing this with feelings of anger and sadness. I am angry because I live in world where some people think that it’s ok to hurt another person because they don’t like them. The sadness is that we are losing too many young lives to volience.

On November 13, 2009, 19 year old, openly gay Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado’s body was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey in Puerto Rico. His body was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso. A suspect has been arrested for the murder. According to Telemundo and other local reports, the 28 year old father of four Martinez Matos confessed to authorities that he picked Lopez Mercado up from the street, thinking that he was a woman. When he realized that Lopez Mercado was a man, Martinez Matos said he regressed to an incident when he was sexually assaulted during a prison term. He then attacked Lopez Mercado, separating his arms from his torso. Again this is all hearsay. I have been reading articles all over the web with varying version of the story. The bottom line is this is just so wrong on many levels. As I read all the news stories and what his friends on Facebook are saying about Jorge Steven my tears start flowing.

Today I just heard of Jason Mattison Jr,s. death. Jason was 15, an openly gay sophomore at the Vivian T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy in Baltimore. He was found dead last week at his aunt’s house. He had been raped, gagged with a pillowcase and stabbed repeatedly in the head and throat. Then his body was shoved into an upstairs closet at the house. Full story at

As I write this my tears are flowing. Why is there so much hate in this world?

No child is born a bigot. Hate is learned. I will only speak for myself. I was born into this world as a blank slate. I would image that the only thing I knew was that when I was hungry I cried and mom fed me. So I learned that to get fed, I had to cry. As child, I watched and learned from this big world around me. I saw how adults looked at and treated each other. I listen to every word they said. I mimicked their every move because they were adults and I wanted to be just like them. The earliest lesson I remember about hate came from my family and every other Puerto Rican I new. I wasn’t supposed to like Mexicans. Back in the day, there was the big feud between Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. No one knew why we hated each other. We just knew we were supposed to hate each other - just because. I always love it when adults say, “just because” when they don’t have answer to a question.

Then I learned I was supposed to hate gay people because the bible says so. But it really doesn’t. Ok, so now I have to hate myself because I like boys to. Then my hatred grew into rage because, as much as I wanted to like myself, all I heard was hatred towards people like me. My rage then turned into self-destruction. I began to do harm to my body through drugs and alcohol. Some of that rage was turned outward toward everyone else. I grew hatred towards everyone who hated gays. Fuck those homophobes. I was going to make their lives just as miserable as they made mine. But I did it mentally. I got into peoples heads and mind fucked them. I said and did things for the shock value. The look on their faces was priceless. But at the end of the day, I still felt the same about myself. It was a “lose-lose” situation. I became tired of hating. It takes to much negative energy. I had to unlearn hate. Yes, it’s possible.

Ending my hate takes a lot of conscious thinking. I have to keep an awareness of how my actions and words impact other people, intentional or unintentional. I’m not perfect, I still have my moments, but I try to catch myself. People may still hate me because of who I am, but that doesn’t mean I have to hate them in return. Yes, I may get mad at them, but I won’t hate them. Again, it’s not always easy, but it can be done.

Here is a good example of how people change hate into something beautiful. This past Tuesday morning I read on Facebook that there was going to be a vigil for Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado in New York. I immediately thought that Chicago, having the second largest population of Puerto Ricans outside the island, has to have one as well. I sent an email out to a hand full of friends at 9:15a.m., and by the end of the day these individuals put it together.

Now my tears are of joy. My community yet again modeled want community is truly about. I know I can lean on them when I’m not strong, and visa versa. When one of us is hurt we must put all our differences aside and come together to provide support and strength for one another. We will mourn together. We will show the world that the BGLTQ Community will not be defeated by hate or any other injustices!

I invite you to join us in solidarity as we to honor the life of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado. On Sunday, November 22, 2009, vigils will be held in cities across the U.S. Visit to find a city near you.

If you cannot join us in person I ask that you hold Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, Jason Mattison Jr. and all other victims of a hate crime in your heart on Sunday and always.

Chicago Vigil
DATE: Sunday, November 22.
TIME: 4pm-6pm
LOCATION: Convene at 4p.m, at the corner of Division & California, Procession & Vigil towards the Humboldt Park Boat House, upon arrival program will commence.

We are asking organizations/community members to:
-post the save the date on their website/facebook/listerv (facebook event to come)
-call their contacts and encourage them to attend (allies as well!)
-ask orgs/individuals to bring candles for themselves and others

Please contact Dulce at with questions or if you would like to help or contribute to the vigil organizing efforts.


  1. If only we actually followed our own ideas about curtailing hatred. Too often we fail with respect to the behavior we would see in other people.

  2. You are absolutely right Zak. I am always hearing people complain about having to be polically correct (PC). For me being pc means being consciously aware of how what I say or do can effect others.

  3. I can't believe in the year 2009 we have fallen so
    short in letting people know that FEAR is the #1 ingredient in Hatred! We don't understand, so we fear...we don't like that feeling so we rail against those who "caused" it and that quickly germinates
    into full fledged hatred. Hurtful actions based on
    that emotion then feel shameful... and it reverts
    back to the fear and those who "cause" it.
    It's no secret that as long as people choose to stay ignorant, they will continue to fear...and spread it as the vile virus that it is.