Monday, November 16, 2009

Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

It is with great sadness that I'm writing about the death of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado. Unfortunately I cannot find a story about him in any major news outlet. Here is a link to a story about him. Lopez Mercado was killed on November 14th in Puerto Rico. He was found in Cayey a small city just outside of Caguas, Puerto Rico's third largest city. What was done to him is so extremely horrific that I will not write about the specifics here. Read the article above to find out. Many people are assuming that he was killed because he is gay. Furthermore, people are calling for this murder to be investigated as a potential hate crime. And if all this wasn't enough, the officer in charge of the investigation (Ángel Rodríguez Colón), explained that "When these type of people get into this and go out into the streets like this, they know this can happen to them." Colón was subsequently removed from the case.

As a Puerto Rican male, I feel a particular sense of responsibility in this situation. As is the case with many cultures, patriarchy and heterosexism are serious problems on our island. Many people think that it is worse in Puerto Rico than here. I will not make that claim. That said I do think patriarchy takes on a different flavor among our colonized people. It is time for those of us that hate patriarchy, heterosexism, and violence against gays, to stand up and say this is unacceptable.

The loss of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado is similar to the loss of Emmett Till. The United States still has not recovered from that event. But at least, thanks to his mother Mamie Till Bradley, he will never be forgotten. And now it is our mission to claim Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado as a casualty in the fight for freedom from colonization. He has become a part of Puerto Rican History and we can never let him be forgotten.

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