JUSTICIA PARA STEVEN - CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE
THE NEXT STEP.
By now, you’re all familiar with the senseless and brutal murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado. (If not, click here.) You’re all familiar with the nationwide vigils and denouncements of the murder this past weekend.

So, what now?

We must undertake a large-scale lobbying effort, pressuring United States Attorney General Eric Holder and Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño to classify this murder as a hate crime.

Puerto Rican officials know the world’s gaze is upon them. But they must see this as a continuing imperative. We must keep up the pressure.

Luckily, this is not only necessary, it’s an EASY, TWO-STEP PROCESS.

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STEP 1:

Send the following letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at AskDOJ@usdoj.gov. Sign with your name. If you are not a US citizen, edit the first sentence appropriately.

“Attorney General Holder,

As a concerned American citizen, I am writing to demand the application of federal hate crimes provisions in the heinous murder of Puerto Rican teenager Jorge Steven López Mercado. Mercado’s alleged killer, Juan Martinez Matos, has admitted to murdering, decapitating, dismembering, and partially burning the 19-year-old boy on the night of November 13, 2009. Matos also admitted that the motive for the crime was his discovery that Mercado, who was dressed in female clothing, was a biological male.

In the past week, over twenty cities have held vigils honoring Mercado’s memory and condemning the sheer inhumanity of his murder.  We are tired of hearing Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño and the Policía de Puerto Rico hedge on whether this crime will be treated as the vile hate crime it is.

We look to you and the United States government for leadership.  We call on you to pressure the government of Puerto Rico, under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to call Jorge Steven López Mercado’s murder a hate crime.

Sincerely,
[name]”

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STEP 2:

Send the following letter to Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño. He can be best reached via his Executive Personal Assistant, Evelyn Cruz, at ecruz@fortaleza.gobierno.pr. Sign with your name.

“Governor Fortuño,

I am writing to demand the application of federal hate crimes provisions in the heinous murder of 19-year-old Jorge Steven López Mercado. Mercado’s alleged killer, Juan Martinez Matos, has admitted to murdering, decapitating, dismembering, and partially burning the boy on the night of November 13, 2009. Matos also admitted that the motive for the crime was his discovery that Mercado, who was dressed in female clothing, was a biological male.

In the past week, over twenty cities—including San Juan—have held vigils honoring Mercado’s memory and condemning the sheer inhumanity of his murder.  We are tired of hearing the Policía de Puerto Rico hedge on whether this crime will be treated as the vile hate crime it is.

We look to you for leadership.  We call on you, the San Juan FBI branch, and the Policía de Puerto Rico—under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act—to call Jorge Steven López Mercado’s murder a hate crime.

Sincerely,
[name]”

Great piece by Blake Hayes. Thank you so much, Blake!

Thank you to Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn, Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito, GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, spoken word poet Emanuel Xavier, and fashion designer Malan Breton for joining me in remarks at the New York vigil.

- Scott Anthony Evans

Above all else, this is what it’s about. Such powerful words from Jorge Steven’s mother, Miriam Mercado. Please share with everyone!

We all have busy schedules in New York. If you took the time to show your support, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, because you let Miriam know we’re here.

FROM MIRIAM MERCADO:

"When my son told me he was gay, I told him, ‘Now, I love you more.’ I want to tell the world that hatred is not born with human beings, it is a seed that is planted by adults and is fostered creating a climate of intolerance and violence. We must change our ways and understand that anyone …could have been my son. And I want everybody to know that Jorge Steven was a very much loved son."

NOT IN NEW YORK?

Read the press release below. Substitute New York for the following places, and voila! Easy activism!

Abilene, TX - 5:30PM, ACU campus, next to GATA fountain [Facebook link]

Amherst, MA - MONDAY 11/23 - 6:30PM, Food For Thought Books [Facebook link]

Anchorage - 3PM, The Park Strip, 9th and L Street [Facebook link]

Atlanta - Details forthcoming

Austin, TX - TUESDAY 11/24 - Texas Capitol, south gate [Facebook link]

Boston - 7PM, Trinity Church, Copley Plaza [Facebook link]

Chicago - 4PM, Division and California, procession to Humboldt Park Boat House [Facebook link]

Dallas - 6:15PM, Cedar Springs Rd and Throckmorton St

Durham, NC - 6PM, Durham Farmer’s Market, 501 Foster St [Facebook link] (Event previously said Saturday, this will occur with the others on Sunday)

Los Angeles - 8PM, Santa Monica and San Vicente [Facebook link]

Lubbock, TX - 6:15PM, 611 University Ave #220 [Facebook link]

New Orleans - Details forthcoming

Oakland - 3:30PM, MacArthur and Lakeshore/Grand Ave [Facebook link]

Philadelphia - FRIDAY 11/20 - 6:30PM, Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany

San Antonio, TX - 8PM, Crockett Park [Facebook link]

San Francisco - 7PM, Castro and Market [Facebook link]

San Juan, Puerto Rico - 11/25 - 6PM, Department of Justice, Miramar

Terre Haute, IN - FRI 11/20 - 6:30PM, Indiana State, DeDe Plaza [Facebook link]

Washington, DC - 5PM, Dupont Circle

West Hollywood, CA - 8PM, Santa Monica and San Vicente

Please email me with local vigils so I can post them! I will also provide you with remarks from the people closest to Steven in Puerto Rico, so you can recite them and humanize this tragedy. And all of you, TAKE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS. We need them for lobbying. This is not a one-day event!

PRESS RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
November 18, 2009
CONTACT: Scott Anthony Evans, Karlo C., Ronnie Kroell

PHONE: 212-675-3288 x 339
EMAIL: vigilforjorgesteven@gmail.com

THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS GATHER FOR VIGIL IN MEMORIAM OF JORGE STEVEN LÓPEZ MERCADO, VICTIM OF HATE CRIME


In an act of solidarity, New Yorkers will gather at Pier 45 in NYC for a vigil followed by optional mass on Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm.

NEW YORK, NY – On the night of Friday, November 13, 2009, 26-year-old Juan Martinez Matos picked up 19-year-old Jorge Steven López in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and drove him to the nearby town of Cidra, PR. After discovering that Mercado, who was dressed as a female, was a man, Matos, in a whirlwind of rage, not only murdered Mercado, but beheaded and dismembered his body. Its remains were partially set on fire. Mercado’s body was discovered in the nearby town of Cayey, PR. A search for the murderer immediately began.

Matos has been apprehended, has confessed, and is imprisoned with bail set at four million dollars.  Initial reports seem to indicate that the line of defense will be invoking “gay panic,” a strategy used commonly in recent times with varying degrees of success. In a troubling interview with Univisión, police investigator Ángel Rodríguez Colón is on record as saying (as translated into English), “These types of people, when they enter this lifestyle and go out into the streets know that this could happen.” We find this unacceptable, and furthermore call for a stop to victim blame in this case.  Never in Puerto Rico’s history has a crime been prosecuted with hate crimes provisions attached, despite the existence of said provisions since 2002.  We want to make sure this is the first case.



In response to sudden and widespread outrage due to the murder, thousands of New Yorkers will gather at Manhattan’s Pier 45 (at Christopher Street) on Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 5:00 PM for a vigil ceremony.

The Manhattan vigil will occur in conjunction with satellite Sunday vigils in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Durham, and other American cities. The resulting photographic and video footage will be used in efforts for full prosecution of this case.

Speakers slotted include major political, social, and artistic leaders of New York City.

We thank GLAAD, The LGBT Community Center, Dignity, Anti-Violence Project, LCOA, and the office of Speaker Quinn for their continued support in these efforts.

Reference Link: http://mercado-vigil.tumblr.com/
Facebook Group: http://bit.ly/4tkNLm

###

URGENT - READ NOW (REVISED)

MERCADO’S KILLER IS BEING READ CHARGES TODAY. PLEASE. RIGHT NOW, HAVE EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU CAN SEND THE FOLLOWING LETTER WITH THE SUBJECT—IN ALL CAPS—OF “JORGE STEVEN LOPEZ MERCADO” :


I am writing today to directly and explicitly urge FBI head Luis Fraticelli, United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez, and the Policía de Puerto Rico to apply federal hate crimes provisions to the murder case of Jorge Steven López Mercado.

In a few short days, tens—if not hundreds—of thousands of people worldwide have started to come together to express shock and outrage that such a brutal crime could have ever been committed.

Puerto Rican news sources have indicated that authorities have not decided whether this case qualifies as a hate crime. We the people find this hard to comprehend.

On Sunday, vigils will be held around the United States: in New York, in Los Angeles, in Chicago, in Boston, in Philadelphia, and in other cities. This movement of outrage is growing unbelievably fast.

We need news of justice.

Sincerely,




1. Copy and sign

2. Send to ALL 4 of these

aclupr@prtc.net
fundacionderechoshumanos@hotmail.com
noticias@notiuno.com
opinion@elnuevodia.com

We must copy the letter to all 4 (ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Noti Uno radio, and El Nuevo Dia) for accountability.

Love and solidarity!
Scott

LATEST UPDATES

Check here for the last update time as the vigil plans develop.

11/19, 3PM - Join the Facebook group for justice here. Also, Jarrett Barrios, president of GLAAD, will be speaking at the New York rally!

11/19, 2:30PM - Locations nationwide are constantly being added at the top of the page. The New York mass will be at 7PM, St. Luke in the Fields Episcopal Church, 487 Hudson between Christopher and Grove.

11/18, 4:30PM - The time and location have been finalized. Please bring your friends and meet at Hudson Pier 45 at Christopher St, proceedings starting around 5PM.

11/18, 6:30AM - At the vigil and afterward, we will create a mobilized effort for the resignation of Puerto Rican police investigator Ángel Rodríguez Colón. In remarks taped by Univisíon, he said, “Este tipo de personas cuando se meten a esto y salen a la calle saben que esto les puede pasar,” or, “These type of people, when they enter this lifestyle and go out into the streets know that this could happen.”

Whether he is referring to queers or sex workers or both, blaming the victim of such a horrendous crime is outrageous, and HE MUST GO.

11/17, 8:20PM - Changed time and location of event, added photos of Steven

Suspect Arrested

Christopher Pagan of Puerto Rico has sent us the following report of the recent arrest of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado’s alleged killer. Please come Sunday as it will be filmed to show support for the queer community of Puerto Rico and to press for full prosecution of this disgusting crime. THIS MUST BE PROSECUTED AS A HATE CRIME.



"The Criminal Investigations dept of Guayama is keeping under police custody the 26 year old confessed killer of Jorge Steven Lopez.

Officials indicated how Jose Bermudez the accused explained that he went into the center of town in Caguas and then after making a few attempts to pick up a prostitute allegedly Jorge went to him dressed as a woman, and Jose invited him into his vehicle thinking he picked up a female prostitute.

He said that he did not know that it was really a man and they went to his apartment in Cidra, where Steven allegedly told him to have anal sex with him, which provoked anger in him and caused him to murder him.  He also said that Steven tried to stab him, and that he armed himself with a kitchen knife and under a fit of rage he injured him, dismembered him, decapitated him and then later took his remains to Guavate where he was left.

Other allegations of the killer is that in 2003 he was arrested for domestic abuse and that in his youth he was molested and that is why he hates homosexuals.  The authorities said that this case has been advanced and successful due to the cooperation of the local GLBT community.  The agent Angel Rodriguez said that he is being interrogated and will be charged with first degree murder.  He also indicated that he will submit another request to the federal judge to have this treated as a hate crime.

At the suspects home the police found 2 knives to commit the murder, and that they were then thrown in a septic tank.

Christopher Pagan
chrispagansjpr@gmail.com”

Follow his updates at iReport.