Socialist Party of CT News

Queer Youth Assaulted / Direct Action @ 12PM on Jan 30th!!

Queer Youth Assaulted At Javapalooza in Middletown / Join QLF For Direct Action @ 12PM on Jan 30th!!
Queer Liberation Front recently received the following message from the mother of a gay 18-year-old in Middletown, CT. In late December, her son was physically and verbally assaulted at a local coffeeshop by the owner and kicked out of the establishment. He's not completely out of the closet and wishes to remain anonymous, so their names have been omitted from the letter she sent us.
We're thinking about doing a direct action on Sunday January 30th @ 12PM where we get a group of at least 20 queers and allies to go into Javapalooza with rainbow flags, queer shirts, etc and all immediately buy coffee. We'd proceed to have a "teach-in", a kind of "know your rights" info session, and at the end present the owner with a letter signed by all of us, demanding a public apology and a show of good will towards the queer/LGBT community.

We are also going to contact media for this event and use that to put pressure on the police to further investigate this complaint, as well as past ones.
If interested in learning more about this and/or participating in our action, please contact Aaron via phone, email, or Facebook.
Peace,

Aaron McAuliffe
Organizer, Queer Liberation Front
(860) 965-9883
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Background
It was Saturday, December 18, 2010, 6:00pm-ish and my son went into Javapalooza with his two friends, a male and female. He and his friends go into Javapalooza often and hang out. He is eighteen years old, a mellow kid and so are his friends - a really good group.
My son had the end of a Dunkin Donuts drink with him and the three of them were sitting at a table. This is when the owner, Neil Zimmerman, yelled over to them from behind the counter, because he knew ****'s friend. He said "doesn't your friend know about our policy?" The kids thought that he was joking. He then told **** that he couldn't have a Dunkin Donuts' drink in his establishment and that he would have to either put it in another cup or throw it away. So, **** finished the last sip, threw it away and sat back down at the table.
This is when the owner came out from behind the counter and walked over to the table. **** and his two friends were in shock because they thought that he was joking. The owner then grabbed **** by the shirt and said something similar to "don't you listen" or "are you some kind of wise ass" and told him to get out. **** grabbed his coat that was next to him and proceeded to leave, all while the owner, who was following him out, was calling him a dick-sucking faggot.
****'s friends followed and this continued outside. He called him a faggot more times and I know that at one point, **** told him to "take his fucking hands off of him". When they got to the sidewalk outside, they were exchanging words, and ****'s friends were in between them, telling **** to walk away.
**** called me to tell me what happened, wondering if he should go to the police (he was so angry). I told him to wait until we came home and told him that we would talk about what action we should take. We decided that he should go to the police, so it would be on record, and I thought that his actions were illegal.
**** and his dad went the next a.m. to the Middletown Police and told them what happened. They told me that the police officer was very nice, listened to everything that **** had to say, and asked him to re-inact what happened and **** told them in detail what happened. As soon as they told the officer where this happened and who it was, they were not surprised because they had other complaints regarding this man. The officer said that they would go talk to the owner, see what his side of the story was and tell him that this wasn't the first complaint that they had on him.
Since then, I've called the Middletown Chamber of Commerce to get something on record and they referred me to the head of Consumer Protection at the Middletown Town Hall. I don't have his name in front of me but he was very nice, took all of the information and asked me if he could call the Middletown Police to see what actions they had taken. He also told me that he was concerned because the police had other complaints on file and that the Dept. of Consumer Protection didn't know of any. He took my name and address so I am expecting a letter from him, following up.
I also called the CCHRO [CT Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities] to file a complaint and they were terrible. I was told "well, you know how teenagers are", "you only know one side of the story", "well, if he was asked to leave, then he should have left", "it's like going into Macdonald's with a Burger King Bag","what are you looking for, a year's worth of free coffee"? I will not be contacting them again.
So, that is where we're at. It's a little tough because **** doesn't want his name out there - he's not quite ready for that yet, but he's legally an adult, etc., etc., etc.
Is there any oversight when it comes to a public establishment? Or is it trying to get the word out so people don't step foot in Java? The Middletown Press would have done an article but they couldn't without using ****'s name, which I understood. It was the editor who suggested that I call the CCHRO, thinking that there would be consequences for the owner and my son's name wouldn't be out there for everyone to see.

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SPCT Statement

 

The Socialist Party of Connecticut has received information from our friends in the Queer Liberation Front (QLF) that the owner of the Javapalooza coffee shop in Middletown has engaged in repeated anti-LGBTQ behavior at his establishment. During the most recent episode in late December, a gay youth was physically and verbally assaulted, and kicked out of the establishment. Anti-gay insults were directed at the victim by the owner.

The QLF, the SPCT and other supporting organizations will engage in a direct action at Javapalooza on Sunday January 30th at 12:00 PM. The plan is to have a group of at least 20 queers and allies enter Javapalooza with rainbow flags and queer shirts, and all immediately buy coffee. Once coffee is purchased the group will hold "teach-in" and subsequently present the owner with a letter signed by the group, demanding a public apology, and a show of good will towards the LGBTQ community. The media will be contacted and informed of the event. The purpose of the action is to put pressure on the police, who are aware of the problem, to further investigate this and other similar complaints.

The SPCT is dedicated to the abolition of male supremacy and the class society, and to the elimination of all forms of oppression, including those based on sexual preference. The SPCT stands with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning people for liberation and full and equal participation in society. LGBTQ people deserve the same rights of marriage as heterosexuals, including the right to adopt children. LGBTQ people who chose to enter the military should have every right to live openly without penalty or harassment, and have every right that their heterosexual peers have.

The SPCT invites all to join with our LBGTQ brothers and sisters in this action and strongly protest  homophobic and violent behavior.

 

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