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Youth
 
NY March and Vigil Set for Anti-Gay Murder Victim
 
ONLINE:  TUESDAY MARCH 28, 4:51 PM EST (GMT-5).
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COMMUNITY organizers secured all required permits today to hold a march in Huntington on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 at 7:00 PM commemorating the life and protesting the hate involved in the murder of 19-year-old Steen Fenrich from Dix Hills, Long Island.

"We expect to hold an event in full compliance with local laws and with the full cooperation of the police and Town officials," said Stephen Sebor, field organizer for the Empire State Pride Agenda.

Public outcry over the discovery of Steen's skeletal remains last week led Long Island activists to organize the a vigil in his memory. According to police, on Tuesday, March 21 in Oakland Park, Queens, a passerby found a plastic container, inside of which were stowed a bleached skull, a foot, loose teeth, and a pair of pants.  Written in black marker on the skull were the words "gay nigger number one."

"This crime hit close to home for many Long Islanders.  Many people in the community are looking for a way to come to terms with the painful realities associated with this vicious act and to ensure an end to such violence," said Jeffrey Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer of BiasHelp of Long Island.

Steen's stepfather, John Fenrich, committed suicide on Wednesday, after an 8-hour standoff with police.  According to widespread media reports, police believe that the elder Fenrich killed Steen on September 9, 1999 after arguing with his son about his homosexuality.

"Regardless of what the investigation finds from this point," according to Robert Melillo of the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard of Long Island, "someone wanted to send a message by scrawling such hateful words on a skull and leaving it in a place for someone to find it.  We must reject that message.  We must put an end to such intolerance."

Only 18 months ago, hundreds of Long Islanders attended a vigil in Bay Shore in memory of Wyoming murder victim Matthew Shepard.  At that time, many expressed hope that such a crime of violent hatred would not occur again on Long Island.  Last week they learned that it did.