32-year-old Mark Carson was walking down a street in New York City on Friday evening when a man came up to him and his friends, yelled "f---ot" and "queer," and shot him in the head.
Mark's horrific death was part of a string of anti-LGBT violence in New York City.
Hate crimes are sadly nothing new, but HRC has written an open letter to the mayors of every major U.S. city and all 50 governors to capture the spirit we're all feeling right now: horror, outrage, and a determination that love will conquer hate even in a moment as awful as this one.
If you agree, sign on to the letter below to demand equality now.
To our elected leaders:
Mark Carson didn't do anything wrong. He didn't break any laws, start any fights, or harm anyone. He was simply open about who he was. And for that, he was shot and killed.
Horror and outrage don't fully capture what we're feeling right now. Every LGBT person and ally who heard about this murder had an even deeper reaction: That could have been me, or someone I love.
Imagine growing up knowing that your life could be over in an instant. That walking down the sidewalk on an ordinary Friday night, you or your friend could be alive one minute and gone the next. That's the reality. And if it can happen in 2013 in New York City, it can happen anytime, anywhere.
But the real question is what we -- you, me, all Americans -- are going to do about it.
The answer is that we must not be silent. You pledged to uphold liberty and justice for all, and today I urge you to make those words a reality.
Discrimination remains embedded in this nation's laws. And as long as it trickles down into our schools and our communities, your constituents will continue to suffer from these crimes and the terror they instill. We all have a duty to stand up, ordinary citizens and elected officials alike. Passive support isn't enough.
The next Mark Carson is out there right now, running out of time. We cannot, must not stop until our nation's laws -- at every level -- treat all Americans equally, in every aspect of life, with the dignity we all deserve.
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We'll do our part. But we need you to do yours.
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