Free self-defense classes citywide in wake of anti-gay hate crimes

In the wake of a spate of reported anti-gay hate crimes, the City Council is offering free self-defense classes throughout the city.

Speaker Christine Quinn and other local politicians march through the West Village in response to the murder of Mark  Carson who was murdered in an apparent anti-gay bias attack. Credit: Aaron Adler. Speaker Christine Quinn and other local politicians march through the West Village in response to the murder of Mark Carson who was murdered in an apparent anti-gay bias attack. Credit: Aaron Adler.

 

The City Council is offering free self-defense trainings throughout the city in light of an apparent spike in reports of hate crimes over the past few weeks.

 

The trainings will teach violence prevention strategies and safety tips to the LGBT community, according to a press release from the Council.

 

The first class will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, in Room 101 at the LGBT Center. It will be taught by the Center for Anti-Violence Prevention. A second evening class will be at the Hudson Guild Elliot Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12.

 

Classes will be added in Brooklyn and Queens in the coming weeks, according to the Council.

Interested New Yorkers can register for the classes by calling 212-788-5613 or emailing events@council.nyc.gov.

The number of reported anti-gay hate crimes has doubled since 2012. Concern is especially high as June is Pride Month.

"As we approach Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, it is important that LGBT New Yorkers stay safe while proudly and openly celebrating who they are," said Council Member Daniel Dromm.

The Council's four openly-gay members, Dromm among them, urged the LGBT community to attend the trainings.

The NYPD has boosted police presence in sensitive areas, especially the West Village, where a man was recently shot and killed by a man shouting anti-gay slurs. There are additional anti-crime plainclothes officers throughout the West Village, as well as mounted officers along Christopher Street every weekend. A roving Incident Command Post will move periodically to different sites in the West Village, starting at 8th Avenue between West 14th and West 15th Streets from Thursdays through Mondays, and 13 Crime Response Vehicles with a total of 26 added officers with move throughout the West Village as an intended deterrent. Personnel is also being increased in Midtown South Thursdays through Sundays.

The increased deployment will continue throughout Pride Month, until at least the end of June.

The City Council and the Department of Education have mandated end-of-year assemblies throughout city schools on diversity and the impact of hate-motivated speech and action. The program is part of the Respect for All anti-bullying initiative.

Police released sketches this weekend of two suspects in possible anti-gay hate crimes that occurred in Brooklyn and Queens. Most of the reported hate crimes have been in Manhattan.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

 
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