Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Family Still Mourns

Last night I attended a candlelight vigil for a fallen member of the LGBT community. While walking home with a friend, Maurice "Melissa " Green was shot and killed on March 21, 2006. The only information that has come forward regarding the suspects is that there were two involved, both were Hispanic, one person pulled the trigger while the second individual provided a getaway bicycle. The suspects were assumed to be between 18-20 years of age.

Last night's vigil marked four years since the murder and unfortunately this vicious crime still remains unsolved. The crowd that gathered in Cieloto park to remember Maurice consisted of his family, friends, concerned members of the LGBT community, Phoenix police (including the LGBT liasion for the department Tambra Williams) and some members of the mayor's office. The turnout was impressive and it was nice to see that he has not been forgotten.

I had an opportunity to speak with most of his family and they all were happy to see so many people still concerned about justice being served. Marcus (Maurice's younger brother) made a poster that contained pictures of his brother and he invited those in attendance to sign them with any comments people wanted to share regarding Maurice. Following the signing of the posters we generated a circle and several members of the family spoke. This was when my tears first started. I didn't know how the evening would proceed but I was thinking this would be my most emotional moment. Boy was I wrong.

Turns out the plan was to march from the park and travel three blocks to the actual spot where Maurice was shot. Being led by Maurice's sister Michelle, all in attendance lit their candles and we started marching. Several people were arm in arm. Some people marched single file. But for everyone this was a very somber and surreal moment. As we marched Marcus started singing Hero by Mariah Carey. Slowly the family joined in and soon most people walking were singing. This was the moment that I lost it.

If you're unfamiliar with the lyrics, the song starts, "There's a hero, if you look into your heart, you don't have to be afraid of who you are . . ." That first lined summed up Maurice. He was a person unafraid and unashamed of who he was. Yes he was wearing a dress when he was killed but everyone in attendance that knew Maurice attested to how he was always genuine and authentic and never afraid to be himself. So when that line was sung goosebumps sprung up all over my body.

How fitting it was that as we approached the site where Maurice was killed someone driving by slowed down his truck and yelled "FAGGOTS!" out his window. But I'm no longer surprised at the level of ignorance people can stoop to these days. So I wasn't even phased by the incident. I only hoped that the family wasn't bothered by it either. Everyone formed a circle around the actual site. Maurice's mom said a prayer. Some people presented flowers. And Marcus again repeated his vow that justice will be served one day. The only condolensces I could give to the family was that even if these people never go to court justice may still be served. Sometimes the judgement we face isn't delivered to us in the judicial system.

My heart goes out to this family and I pray that one day they find the justice they are seeking. I also pray that the senseless violence that begat this unfortunate event comes to an end one day. Maurice, you are missed and you will never be forgotten.

To see additional photos from the vigil please go here .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jason. This is a beautiful way to describe the vigil and the energy there. Thanks for writing about it.