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Community Rallies against Hate at the NYC LGBT Center

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More than 100 people joined a rally outside the LGBT Community Center in Greenwich Village Wednesday evening to stand in solidarity against the hateful placement of a burning rainbow flag on the front of the building last week.

The torched flag was discovered hanging on the poster display case near the building’s entrance at 8am last Wednesday, April 14th.  The NYPD’s Hate Crimes unit has been investigating the case.

New York 1, which provided the most consistent coverage of the story, reported that while Center employees have received threatening phone calls and letters before, they had never seen anything as menacing as this.

In response, the Center unfurled a new 20-foot-long flag to grace the front of the building at yesterday’s rally.  The rally represented the refusal of the Center, its constituents, and allies to be intimidated or threatened by hateful acts like this.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn spoke passionately outside the Center, calling the crime an act of cowardice and violence – though thankfully no one was physically injured.

Executive director of the Center, Glennda Testone said, “It is so important that we’re here together in solidarity to stand in front of our home and say, We’re here, we’re queer, and we are not going anywhere.”

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"What we are doing here today is sending a message to that coward who is way too scared to show his or her own face, that we are not going away. We're not going to get out of his or her face, and we are never going to be pushed out of our city," Quinn said.

EDGE reported that City Comptroller John Liu, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Anti-Violence Project executive director Sharon Stapel, rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker and Councilmembers Daniel Dromm [D-Jackson Heights] and Rosie Mendez [D-Lower East Side] also took part in the rally.

Last week, several out New York City elected officials also released a joint statement condemning this act of hate.

GLAAD stands in solidarity with the LGBT Community Center and will continue to amplify these messages of pride and resilience from LGBT people and allies.