A group of elected officials and activists from New York and Chicago traveled to Puerto Rico to meet with the family of Jorge Steven López Mercado, the gay teen killed in a gruesome November murder, Michael K. Lavers at EDGE reports::
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Illinois State Sen. Iris Martínez, who heads the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic Caucus and Illinois State Rep. María Berríos [D-Chicago] were among those who met with Jorge Steven López Mercado’s parents and younger brother Gabriel in a San Juan restaurant. Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Guillermo Chacon of the Latino Commission on AIDS, Jorge Cestou of the Chicago-based Association of Latino Men of Action and New York activist Karlo Colon also traveled with the delegation. "There wasn’t a dry eye in the restaurant when [Miriam Mercado] spoke," Quinn told EDGE.
New York City Councilmembers Melissa Mark-Viverito, Danny Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer and Rosie Mendez also traveled to Puerto Rico. Members of the Association of Latino Men for Action gave Miriam Mercado and Jorge López more than $2,100 they raised at a New York fundraiser last week so they could cover some of their murdered son’s funeral costs... Cestou, who is also a co-chair of the national LGBT Latino organization Unid@s, added, however, it was important for him and fellow ALMA members to show their solidarity with the family. "It was definitely extremely powerful," he said.
In addition to the family, the delegation also met with Puerto Rican legislators, LGBT activists and clergy. Noticeably absent from the itinerary: Republican Gov. Luis Fortuño who resisted efforts to prosecute the case a hate crime. Fortuño has yet to publicly comment on the López case but within the past two weeks has called for a constitutional marriage ban against same-sex marriage.
[photo by Pedro Julio Serrano]