OkEq's Spirit Night Rally features edu-doc, "Julio of Jackson Heights"

"Julio of Jackson Heights" comes to Spirit Night at Oklahomans for Equality October 15.

On the night of July 2, 1990, Julio Rivera – a Bronx born Puerto Rican – was beaten to death in a Queens, NY schoolyard by three young men who left a party armed with a monkey wrench, a claw hammer, a fruit paring knife and a 40 oz. bottle of beer hunting for a gay man “to stretch out.”

The initial response to the murder was business of usual for the murder of gay men in Queens: the police assigned the case to a detective who was on vacation for two weeks, the media was silent and the community at large quickly forgot about the incident. However, a few of Julio’s friends joined forces with his family – and with the help of LGBTQ activists from groups like ACT UP, the Anti-Violence Project and Queer Nation – they formed a coalition to pressure the police into running a serious investigation.

The film Julio of Jackson Heights chronicles the struggles of a group that organized across lines of race, social class, religion and gender to create a movement for justice that gave birth to a movement for equality and put a new face on LGBTQ organizing in New York.

Filmmaker Richard Shpuntoff has been invited to screen Julio of Jackson Heights as part of OKEQ’s Spirit Night program to stand against bullying and in support of LGBTQ youth. “The film is a portrait of a community at a moment of great change,” noted the filmmaker. “On one hand, it may seem like a very New York story, but life in Queens is different from Manhattan. It is very much about neighborhoods and communities and people know each other from school, church and the supermarket. Coming out politically for LGBTQ people was a serious risk.” Shpuntoff, who will be present at the screening, grew up in Jackson Heights and documented the Queens Pride Parade for its first 20 years.

The film screening will take place at 8:30 pm on Saturday, October 15 following the Rooftop Rally at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. The event is free and open to the public, but everyone is expected to wear a purple shirt to symbolize support for LGBT youth as well as speaking out against bullying.

("Julio of Jackson Heights" will also play this Thursday, October 13, from 7-9 p.m. at the Case Study 1 (Room 408), Student Union, Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Presented by the Oklahoma State Queers and Allies - OSQ&A)


Copyright 2016 The Gayly - 10/11/2016 @ 7:40 a.m.