I would like to share a gut-wrenching story about a young openly gay university student who was chased and attacked by an angry mob of students, as well as university appointed security guards for publicly expressing his sexuality.
On November 1, 2012, a young man (who wishes to remain unnamed for security purposes) was attending classes as usual at the internationally highly regarded University of Technology in Jamaica. After attending a standard lecture, he retreated to a common area in the university alongside an alleged intimate partner. When a student stated he had seen the two together and had witnessed them in a compromising position, rumours of their relationship and sexuality began to circulate. These rumours led to an unfortunate chain of events.
Within minutes over 300 students gathered together through university corridors in frantic pursuit of the couple. Once found, the two young men were physically attacked as the overwhelming group chanted homophobic slurs. One of the men was able to escape as he fled on foot making it off school property. His peer was not so lucky, as the mob stayed close on his tail. In a final attempt to try and find safety, the battered and fear-stricken student ran to the campus security office seeking refuge. Once inside, two uniformed university guards locked the doors and began to question the nature of the chaotic attack. During this time, hundreds of students gathered around the office, screaming profanities and threatening to murder the young man as they damaged school property throwing bottles through office glass.
Once the student confessed his sexuality and outlined the details of the attack, the two university security guards joined the mob in viciously beating and assaulting him with the entire episode being caught on camera. University officials have declined to comment, but onlookers stated the young man sustained injuries and was removed from the school by local authorities.
A day later a petition was launched via global advocacy site Change.org by popular Canadian online media personality and advocate Vonny The Ken Doll. In an address to his roughly 130,000 Twitter followers, he stated he felt compelled to launch the petition urging the immediate dismissal of the UTECH campus security involved in the battering.
No stranger to youth advocacy, Vonny publicly spoke out alongside the Canadian Jewish Congress in 2010 against the producers of the Canadian Jersey Shore spinoff series 'Lake-shore.' He alleged that the producers had manipulated youth and ethnicity and participated in a petition blocking the show from airing. The series was later cancelled.
At present time he is the chair of the Youth Action Network, the non-profit organization credited with creating Youth Week, which has since been adopted by the United Nations. In his address he stated petition supporters have offered thousands of dollars in donations, and that he'd be working closely with prominent legal adviser Mackeda Bramwell of Toronto's On Point legal firm to assist gay Jamaicans seeking refugee status in Canada.
In just a few short days, pressure on the University has continued to mount and they have released a statement claiming the security officials involved in the assault would be removed during an ongoing investigation.
Vonny was quoted as saying, "In the words of Martin Luther King, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We need to make sure this removal sticks," during an interview with CFRB News Talk 1010 in Canada.
The video and petition have made their way to headline news in Jamaica being aired on nationwide radio and popular urban video site World Star Hip Hop.
To view the horrific incident and petition click here
More information on Vonny
More information on the On Point
The hope is to garner more signatures for this petition, and to encourage vulnerable persons in the Caribbean seeking refuge in Canada to reach out to the party as all of their expenses will be covered.