Salt Lake Responds to Hate Crime

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com September 07 2011 1:20 PM ET

In the wake of an antigay hate crime in Salt Lake City, residents are banding together to show support for LGBT people in a variety of ways — and hoping to bring about arrests in the case.

Dane Hall, 20, was attacked by four men as he was walking home from a gay night at Club Sound early in the morning of August 27. He was beaten and kicked; his jaw was broken, several of his teeth were knocked out, and a piece of bone lodged in his brain. He says the assailants called him “fag” and other antigay slurs.

The Q Business Alliance, a group of local businesses run by LGBT people and straight alliances, has set up a fund to provide rewards for information leading to arrests of Hall’s attackers, QSalt Lake reports. “This rewards fund sends a message to perpetrators of hate-motivated crimes against our community that we have the money and resources to fight back, track down and prosecute those who would harm our brothers and sisters,” said Michael Sanders, Q Business Alliance membership director.

An interfaith candlelight prayer vigil is planned for Friday evening at Liberty Park, followed by a march through the city. It is sponsored by City of Hope, an LGBT-inclusive Salt Lake City church. “Our community was absolutely incensed by what happened” to Hall, copastor Marian Edmonds told The Salt Lake Tribune. The congregation, she said, “decided as a spiritual community what we can do is get together and pray and read poetry and be a witness to the fact that all people should be loved and accepted.” Other events scheduled this week in response to the crime include a theater benefit at Club Jam to raise funds to pay Hall’s medical expenses and a panel discussion hosted by the Women’s Democratic Club of Utah.

Then on October 11, National Coming Out Day, the Support Love Courage Council, an affiliate of the Utah Pride Center, is asking Utahns to gather at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City, wearing pink, to form a giant, human pink dot in support of LGBT people. The event was not directly motivated by the attack on Hall, but “may have particular resonance” because of it, the Tribune reports.

The Pink Dot Utah Campaign is based on an event held in Singapore, which drew 2,500 people in its first year, 2009, and grew to more than 10,000 this year. “We just hope that with the campaign that we’re able to reach out to families and family members that haven’t been willing to step out before,” Pride Center director Valerie Larabee told the Tribune. “It’s an action that people can take in response to what happened to Dane, but also more widely in support of their loved ones.”

The campaign has set up a Facebook page where videos will be posted in the month leading up to the event, and a website for it, PinkDotUT.org, will go live Friday.