Ge­or­gia Equal­ity joins coali­tion to mourn shoot­ing vic­tims

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At­lanta po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a vi­o­lent rob­bery that oc­curred re­cently in Midtown, in which an uniden­ti­fied as­sailant pis­tol-whipped a gay man, send­ing him to the hos­pi­tal with fa­cial lac­er­a­tions.

Mam­douh Shawky, 28, and a friend had left the Cari­bou Cof­fee at 10th Street and Pied­mont Av­enue and were walk­ing down Argonne Av­enue on the way to the At­lanta Ea­gle around 11 p.m. on June 9 when two men con­fronted them.

“This one guy came be­hind us and came re­ally close hold­ing his gun and then another guy came around the front of us and then they just asked us to give them ev­ery­thing,” Shawky told Ge­or­gia Voice.

Shawky said he gave them his wal­let and phone, but then things got worse.

“The guy that came in the front started hit­ting my friend and then the other one be­hind my back, he came with his gun and put it near my face,” he said. “Af­ter that he hit me in my face, in my eye­brow.”

The sus­pects fled and the vic­tims went to a nearby house for help, where neigh­bors called 911. The two went to Grady Hos­pi­tal, where Shawky re­ceived stitches for a fa­cial lac­er­a­tion caused by the sus­pect pis­tol-whip­ping him.

Shawky said there was no in­di­ca­tion the crime was mo­ti­vated by his sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. The ex­pe­ri­ence has left him sec­ond-guess­ing him­self.

“I don’t know why I didn’t just take an Uber or some­thing. Argonne Av­enue is not very safe, ob­vi­ously,” he said, adding, “I go out in Midtown a lot and yeah, I would not walk again in Midtown or any­where for that mat­ter. It’s not a good ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The in­ci­dent comes as another in a long line of crimes in Midtown, with a re­cent 11 Alive re­port show­ing a ma­jor spike in the area in the first four months of 2015 com­pared to 2014.

At­lanta po­lice have re­ported no bias crimes based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity so far this year.

Statewide LGBT ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion Ge­or­gia Equal­ity joined with the Rain­bow PUSH Coali­tion in a June 19 press con­fer­ence to mourn the vic­tims of the Charleston church shoot­ing and make a re­newed call for hate crimes leg­is­la­tion. The Rain­bow PUSH Coali­tion is a civil rights, so­cial jus­tice and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism or­ga­ni­za­tion founded by Rev. Jesse Jack­son in 1971.

The press con­fer­ence fol­lowed the June 17 in­ci­dent in which Dy­lann Roof, 21, sat through a prayer meet­ing at the his­tor­i­cally black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, be­fore open­ing fire, killing nine peo­ple, in­clud­ing the pas­tor, Cle­menta Pinck­ney, who was also a state sen­a­tor.

Roof, who is white, is in cus­tody and has con­fessed to the mur­ders, say­ing he wanted to start a race war, ac­cord­ing to CNN.

“I think as we’re see­ing across the na­tion, par­tic­u­larly with dif­fer­ent peo­ple with dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives com­ing to­gether, we’re see­ing that when there’s a dif­fer­ence in cul­ture, whether it’s a dif­fer­ence in the color of skin or dif­fer­ence in be­liefs, there are forces at will that we feel…are pro­mot­ing hate and they’re cre­at­ing a cul­ture of hate. And we stand against any form of hate,” said Amanda Hill-Atkisson, deputy di­rec­tor of Ge­or­gia Equal­ity.

Rob Woods, se­nior field or­ga­nizer for Ge­or­gia Equal­ity, added, “There are five states in the na­tion that don’t have hate crime laws, and that is where we see an ab­so­lute link of where we need to be more co­op­er­a­tive. We felt that by com­ing out and sup­port­ing Rain­bow PUSH and speak­ing out against the vi­o­lence, this is a good in­ter­sec­tional place for us to start a di­a­logue and work to­wards is­sues in the leg­is­la­ture and in our com­mu­ni­ties and over­all build a stronger hu­man bond ver­sus this ‘us and them’ re­la­tion­ship that we have.”

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