An open letter from an OutJustice supporter who has been watching us reform and regroup. This anonymous donor has gone to bat to assist us so that we can assist our clients. Please check out his letter!
Dear Brother, Sister, Neighbor, Ally, Friend:
On Jan. 10, 2010, Sean Little began verbally harassing and shoving a gay youth on the CTA Red Line train after the young man boarded the train at the Belmont station – right in the heart of Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood, one of the prominently LGBTQIA friendly areas known to be packed with gay bars and businesses. Long-time activist Daniel Hauff came to the youth’s aid, at which point Little allegedly began directing anti-gay slurs at Hauff and along with Benjamin Eder and Kevin McAndrew.
Little’s two accomplices, who had been watching Little gay bash the first young man, joined in the assault, calling Hauff a “stupid faggot” and questioning why he would care about their first victim.
“Are you his boyfriend?” they taunted.
Before long all three men began punching and bloodying Hauff’s face in front of train passengers, one of whom tried to intervene. He was another gay male who was similarly taunted about why he would help Hauff and questioned about whether he was Hauff’s boyfriend. Clearly these three men had a problem with queer individuals (and I don’t use the word “queer” in an offensive way).
The witness took photographs with is cell phone, thankfully.
Even so, along the way every agency involved “dropped the ball” for Daniel in some way.
- The Chicago Police Department wouldn’t allow the responding police officers, who arrived with the gay bashing still in progress, report it as a hate crime.
- The charge even with the hate crime distinction was incorrect.
- The Civil Rights Unit wrote a report claiming Hauff was straight, even though perception is part of the law, and referred to the gay bashing as mere locker room talk (seriously).
It gets worse, but I’ll spare you the details. Hauff had to fight to get his case noticed and get the charges upgraded. He did so by speaking with the media.
Nearly two years later, the judge on the case acquitted his three gay bashers claiming that stories didn’t match – not true! A simple timeline would have clarified the reason Hauff had more information later on – he met the witness. The judge didn’t question how he knew about the Civil Rights Unit’s report, but he to date has never even seen a copy.
Justice was stomped on in that courtroom. But because Daniel fought to be counted the history of those three violent men – their words, deeds, and hatred – will always be out there. Documented. And it will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Now more than three years have passed.
Daniel, after being further gay bashed by our inept criminal legal system, pushing for proper charges of felony hate crimes for all three men on aggravated battery charges, felt more gay bashed by the criminal legal system now than he did by the fists and kicking.
He testified for two days. The defense attorneys, shocker here, blamed the victim. He saw no justice.
What he did see was compassion for his suffering and outrage from the LGBTQIA Community.
To support him, a small group formed OutJustice [at the time called “Out for Justice”] in early 2010, a victim advocacy organization. Daniel often speaks publicly about how much the work of these individuals meant to him. He speaks about co-founder Elana Mendelson embracing him in a courthouse and thanking him for standing up against the hatred literally pummeled into his face.
Their fists left him with on-going health and physical challenges, not to mention what it must have done to his psyche.
Now, Daniel has taken on OutJustice making use of his extensive experience in directing non-profit profits, leading campaigns, and organizing both at the grassroots and national levels. He has worked with internationally renowned experts in social justice movements, including trauma stewardship, hate crime law, animal welfare, genocide, human rights, and even legislators and celebrities. He has spoken at national conferences, been requested to speak overseas, and taught humane education classes at the university level.
He is an expert to authorities, providing key information in criminal proceedings. He worked undercover. And he is regularly sought for advice on covert documentation methods and undercover investigations. He even has some very complimentary voice messages from Mr. Bob Barker, King of Spay/Neuter Programs and supporter of Daniel’s previous department overseeing undercover work with Mercy For Animals.
But he needs our help. He can’t do this alone.
He is strong for others and meek about asking for help for himself. If it hadn’t been for the fact that if he didn’t speak out about his gay bashers and their attack on him that he would feel as though he was letting future victims down, I’m not sure Daniel would have said anything about what happened to him. After all, he grew up being bullied.
But that’s what makes him so good at what he does.
Daniel is one of the most dedicated, driven, and admirable men I know.
His goal is to provide resources and support to those who have been victims of violence and discrimination. The group is filling a gap within LGBTQIA advocacy that was identified by members of the Center on Halsted’s Anti-Violence Project and the State’s Attorney’s office.
And as he says to me repeatedly, there is no duplication of services here – OutJustice is filling a very real need for hate crime victims in courtroom advocacy and trial monitoring, as well as helping LGBTQIA individuals overcome discriminatory situations.
Without even being recognized, OutJustice has helped individuals within our community with the following (to name just a few) …
- A gay man without the ability to marry his male partner in the U.S. avoided being deported with advice and much needed assistance (all costs came out of Daniel’s pocket).
- Court cases involving members of our community have been given invaluable advice on courtroom procedures, and OutJustice accompanied them throughout the process in courtrooms across the State of Illinois.
- Attain justice in discrimination cases around the country.
- Understand their legal rights and responsibilities as victims and as witnesses.
- Trained groups who wish to support victims in their own communities.
- Assisted several victims of violence immediately following their ordeals, including a troubling sexual attack.
OutJustice has assisted hate crime victims across the country who found Daniel’s story and reached out to him via Facebook and other methods. He has helped organize supporters to do what OutJustice did for him (and he intends to, as he says, “kick up a notch” with more intensive case management-modeled assistance), bringing about courtroom presence and working with the media.
And in areas such as humane education and anti-bullying programs, his team is already pushing forward with some amazing programming and working with other organizations to avoid duplication of services. They will be supplementing what is needed!
Please support Daniel’s hard work, which is both personal and a major undertaking. The staff is 100% volunteer run. All expenses – and there have been many – have been out of pocket.
By joining OutJustice with a donation today, you will help Daniel’s compassionate team launch their new website with proper hosting and the tools they need to assist our community.
I’m a member already – are you?
Please donate now! Gifts can be made securely online via Credit Card or Paypal. Checks can also be mailed made out to: OutJustice.
Mail to: OutJustice, 3712 N. Broadway St. Ste. 235, Chicago, Illinois 60613
And THANK YOU for helping OutJustice help the LGBTQIA Community – OUR COMMUNITY!
J.M. of NYC