Fabio Brandao Makes Me An Unlikely Activist

I am not one to be an activist, I am more likely to be the one who sits back and lets other people do the work. I generally figure that if I don't do it then someone else will... like the Doctor cooking for me, or the cleaning person cleaning the house!

However, the Brandao situation is a bit different. Would I be speaking out if this hadn't happened? Probably not, but I guess good has to come out of everything, and this is my good. With all of your help we are going to make sure that change occurs. I have been contacted by people all over the United States wanting to help make a difference and that is what we are going to do.

Protests are being organized in Boston and I have been contacted by several media outlets, I will continue speaking up and doing what I can do and here is why...

I just wanted to say thanks for being so brave and getting the word out about what was done here, and the lack of action from the court. It's people like you who will truly get laws changed. No one deserves this kind of treatment -- by speaking out against it, you're helping to ensure this sort of injustice won't happen in the future. That's powerful.

~Allison M

It is the comments like this that I have received on this blog and on my facebook page that make me realize that I can make a difference, that those of us who were attacked can't sit back and let this happen. We need to have our voice heard, we need to be strong, and we need to stand up. We can all be part of a powerful statement.

Continue writing, continue reading, continue posting, and lets get organized... It is time to make a difference, and even if you are the one who normally sits back and watches (like I do) now is your chance to change that.

Once again, thank you all for all of your support!

Why Keep Posting About Fabio Brandao

Why do I keep posting about Fabio Brandao?

I have a forum with my blog, an ability to reach out to people and keep them informed. No, I don’t have thousands of followers, nor a huge audience but I have the ability to write and let people know that what happened is not ok.

Yesterday I received an email on Facebook from a former high school classmate. As I read it I got a little bit teary eyed. This is someone who has a gay brother who lives in Boston and he thanked me and my friends for having the courage to stand up in court against this man.

It is my duty as a gay man who has survived this to do all that I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I will continue to reach out to the media, and post to my blog as long as I need to.

We need to see change occur, not only in Boston or Massachusetts but across the country. Violence can not be tolerated. A slap on the wrist is not an acceptable punishment. Continue fighting hate!

Fabio Brandao Gets Off Easy- Globe Article

Click on the title to read the article ran in the Globe today about Brandao gettng off easy


Response to Brandao Sentencing

I was in court yesterday, and got to face my attacker for the first time. As a matter of fact it was the first time I saw my attacker. Fabio Brandao and his friends had beaten me so severely that I was unconscious in the middle of the street by the time they got into there car and pulled away.

I knew I was hit hard, but because of the injuries I sustained I did not remember the violent attack. Yesterday, a witness to the crime who pulled her car over so that I wouldn’t be run over described the attack to me. It was like nothing she had ever seen they were kicking you in the head, and jumping on your skull, she said to me. That is when it really hit me I was very fortunate to be alive.

I sat in the courtroom yesterday with my wonderful boyfriend holding my hand and my friends by my side. We watched as Brandao admitted his guilt. At first a weight was lifted, I felt relieved, not only did I survive this attack but I was moving on with my life. My parents always told me not to be a victim, and while I had been attacked I was not going to sit back and let it ruin my life.

As the proceedings continued the weight began to return. I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that this man had tried to take my life and liberties away simply because of who I am. He admitted his guilt on all nine charges, he admitted to civil rights violations, and he is not going to jail.

This crime was fueled by hatred, a hatred for a group of people. This crime is bigger than just me. I had never met or seen the attackers before, they chose me and my friends because they saw us walking down the street an assumed we were gay. That kind of hate is reprehensible, and the fact that the court did not see it this way is disturbing.

Sure this was the first time that Brandao had been caught attacking a group of people, and I emphasize caught. This was the first time he was charged with such a crime, which doesn’t make it any less disgusting. However, because it was the first time he was caught the court was lenient. What message does that send? It tell people that its acceptable to hate a group of people, and then attack members of that group on the street, as long as you only get caught doing it once. This sentence is a slap on the wrist for Brandao.

The other three attackers are still at large, Brandao refused to give them up. Now the other three are free to attack another group of gay men and women one night when they are walking home. If the victims are lucky enough to survive and brave enough to come forward then maybe one of those men will get a slap on the wrist like Brandao because it will be their first time caught.

I believe that the punishment should fit the crime. I believe that Brandao and all three of his friends should serve time in jail because they brutally attacked four people based on their sexual orientation. They attacked four people so violently that two of them were put in ambulance and taken to the hospital. One more kick to the head and they may have died. They next people attacked may not be as lucky as we were. This sort of attack should not happen in this day an age. Hate should not be tolerated, but with the ruling from the Court yesterday, I now realize that Massachusetts does tolerate hatred, they do allow violence to occur on their streets. The message that this sentence is sending is that it is acceptable to hate, as long as it’s your first time hating, and that it is acceptable to attack people, just make sure you only do it once, otherwise you may go to jail the second time.

Massachusetts should be ashamed of themselves for sending this message, and the victims of these crimes should be appalled that it is occurring. Changes need to be made to the system, and they need to be made quickly.

Fabio Brandao Guilty

Fabio Brandao guilty on all 9 counts including Civil Rights violations!

The Commonwealth v. Fabio Brandao

It is Tuesday evening and I am sitting at BWI waiting for my slightly delayed flight to Boston. I am heading up to Boston because the trail against Fabio Brandao starts tomorrow. For those of you who don't remember the story I was attacked in Boston right before I moved down to DC because I was walking friends home after a night out. Here is the story from Edge Boston...

Gay bashing on Columbus Avenue by Ethan Jacobs Bay Windows Thursday Aug 28, 2008

Police are currently investigating a possible hate crime after three people were viciously attacked by four men shouting homophobic slurs on Columbus Avenue in the early morning hours of August 24. The victims, four friends in their mid-20s, told Bay Windows that they were walking home at around 2:45 a.m., along Columbus Avenue, somewhere between Dartmouth and West Canton streets, after a night clubbing at the Roxy in downtown. One of the victims, a Jamaica Plain woman named Jenna, said that she and her friends heard a group of men shouting at them from a parked white sedan. They kept walking, but before they could go far, the four men got out of their car and started coming towards them."I saw the men getting out of the car, and I approached them first and said, ’Just get back in your car... We’re just heading home,’" said Jenna, who asked that Bay Windows withhold her last name due to safety concerns. "They were like, ’Fuck you, your fucking friends are faggots,’ and one of them punched me in the face."When her two friends, S of the South End and J of Jamaica Plain, who also asked to withhold his last name, came to her aid, the attackers turned on them. Two of them began beating S and another kicked J in the face repeatedly as he lay on the ground, shouting "Fuck you, faggots" throughout the attack. JCH was furthest away from the incident and was not directly involved in the physical confrontation.The attackers ran back to their car to get away, Jenna said, when she pulled her phone out and threatened to call the police. She ran after them and dialed 911 on her cell phone; when an operator answered, she shouted the license plate number of the car into the phone."I was screaming it repeatedly into the phone over and over again," said Jenna. "That’s when the guys in the car yelled, ’Bitch, you better move or I’m going to hit you.’" She jumped out of the way, and the car sped off. After the attackers fled, Jenna and JCH found J lying unconscious on the sidewalk, but Cain was nowhere in sight. They were able to reach him moments later on his cell phone; he was in his Massachusetts Avenue apartment, but had no idea how he got there. "I woke up in my apartment, completely covered in blood, like from the movies," said S who said that he could not remember the assault itself or the immediate aftermath. Police and EMTs arrived on the scene and immediately brought J to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, picking up S on the way. Jenna and JCH stayed behind to report the incident; police also recovered a cell phone at the scene that may have belonged to the attackers. J and S, who both sustained concussions, were released later that day; S also sustained deep cuts above his eye and his temple requiring stitches. Neither man remembers any details of the assault. The three victims and JCH said they told police that the attackers were four Hispanic males, but they were not able to provide police with any further identifying information. S told Bay Windows the attackers looked like "four frat boys."Elaine Driscoll, spokeswoman for the Boston Police, said the Community Disorders Unit, which focuses on hate crimes, is leading the investigation, working with detectives from the Area D4 station. She said police are following up on the information the victims gave them and the 911 operator about the assailants’ car, which they believe was a white Honda station wagon."The detectives do have some information to go by and they are in the process of tracking the information down. I don’t have the conclusive information yet, but investigators are working to determine who the owner of the vehicle is and whether or not the vehicle was involved," said Driscoll, adding that detectives are also trying to verify the identity of the owner of the cell phone and discover whether the owner was involved. S said police interviewed him about what he remembers, took pictures of his wounds and took the bloodied clothes he wore that night to use as evidence. Police and his friends have filled him in about much of what happened that night, but no one knows how S got from the scene of the attack to his apartment."The part that scares me the most is what I don’t remember. ... They said they saw me go down, I was unconscious, and when they drove away I was gone," said S, who said his face is covered in bruises and he has had trouble closing his jaw since the attack. J said the concussion he sustained was relatively minor, and he still has some minor cuts and bruises."Ten years in Boston I’ve never felt uncomfortable, and now it’s weird for me to think about walking down Columbus, which I did all the time," he said. "But I also feel very lucky. I got a couple bruises and scrapes, but it could have been a lot worse."Jenna said she has a bruise over one eye, but most of the trauma she endured has been psychological."Emotionally, I’m completely on edge and I haven’t been sleeping, and the smallest thing makes me go off into bouts of anxiety. Even retelling this story has me shaking," said Jenna.

That was all the way back in August and now at the end of May we are all heading to Boston, including the Doctor who is coming to sit by my side. We are all going to re-live that night as we testify against this man, Fabio Brandao, the man who changed our worlds. The man who shattered my confidence in the overall good of people. This man and his friends (who have yet to be caught or charged) thought it was okay to attack friends walking home, just because they perceived us as gay.

I'm trying not to be scared anymore, it has been months of working at it and I am doing pretty well but tomorrow is frightening. Tomorrow is the first time I am going to see this man who attacked me and my friends. Tomorrow is the first day that I have to relive who happened, and I am scared that somehow tomorrow I will start to remember the night.

And I am conflicted, what if a plea bargain is offered, what if he gets off with no jail time? Does that matter? I have been strong, I have been lucky, but what about that next person. What if one of the kicks to the head is a bit harder, what if that next person blames himself. I know it wasn't my fault. I know I can't change who I am. I know that I will be able to put this behind me and live my life. I know I'll get married (no matter what California says) and I will always have the Doctor by my side, but I am the lucky one.

This case is bigger than me, this case means the world to a lot of people. I hope that the right thing happens and if it doesn't then I hope that we can force change. Hate is never the answer, I have said it over and over again and I won't stop saying it until events like this are things of the past.

As I sit here in the park with children screaming I'm glad that my kids are animals (literally)

Silly Looking

Have you ever really looked at students in their graduation regalia... like an entire horde of them... yeah, they look really silly, especially with that square hat, multi colored tassles and long hoods, then add on some honor cords and velvet stripes, just plain old silly!

The Bookstore Gods

So the last few weeks have been crazy with end of term book buyback, and because I don't have a floor manager I had to run my in store buybacks and my offsite buyback by myself... the result is that on the busiest day I walked 15 miles and my feet were bleeding. I am serious it was a really crazy week... the good news was it started to die down today, so I started prepping my floor for summer term, which starts on Monday. This required my to disassemble and reassemble some shelves, this is where the problems occured.

The shelves are actually pretty easy to take apart and reattach, but they are large, cumbersome, and sharp. I had to remove the center board from the top so I stood precariously on the fifth step of an eight foot ladder and pulled up, the board begins to move and I lean back to make sure I don't lose my balance. As I make my way down the ladder with the center board, my arms fully extended I feel my pants catch on something as I turn. I move forward and my pants are released, but not without damage. Yes, I ripped the butt of my pants. Thank goodness I was wearing decent underwear, and that it was high enough on my pants that when I untucked my shirt it was covered.

About an hour later as I begin to reconstruct the shelving I move the ladder out of the way and prop it up on the wall next to me. I am leaning over putting shelves in when an employee comes by with a cart and taps one of the legs of the ladder causing it to slide, as it begins to teeter I hear the noise, look up just in time for the metal ladder to slam down on my hard head and knock me to the ground.

Man, the bookstore gods really hate me today!