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Residents March In Support Of Hate Crime Victims

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Hundreds of marchers banded together March 20 to call attention to a rash of recent crimes against LGBT people in the District. 
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Hundreds of marchers banded together March 20 to call attention to a rash of recent crimes against LGBT people in the District. 

As many as 1,000 people marched silently in Colubmia Heights Tuesday evening, trying to call attention to the recent spate of violence and hate crimes targeting the LGBT community.

The march began outside the IHOP restaurant at 14th and Irving streets in Northwest D.C., where last Sunday, a gay man, 31, was shot at that restaurant and left critically wounded. Police classified that shooting as a hate crime.

The march also supports the victim of a severe beating and robbery March 12 at Georgia Avenue and Irving Street NW. The beating left the man with a broken jaw. It was classified as an anti-gay hate crime. A day later, a transgender woman was assaulted and knocked unconscious in Northeast D.C.

Marchers stopped at Georgia Avenue and Irving Street NW to set up a memorial for the victims.

The father of JaParker "Deoni" Jones, a transgender woman who was murdered on East Capitol Street in February, also joined in the march. He believes his child was the victim of a hate crime. 

"He was just sitting at the bus stop waiting on the bus, he was targeted because he was transgender gay, and the guy stabbed him in the head and killed him," Jones' father said. "JaParker was a person that didn't bother anybody. He was 23 years old, and from day one, when he came into my life 20 years ago, he called me daddy ... up until the day he died." 

So far, police have not classified the murder of JaParker Jones as a hate crime. 

Jason Terry, an anti-violence organizer with the D.C. Trans Coalition, helped organize the march.

"I hope we're able to send a message both to the community at large as well as to police that we can't keep letting violence happen in our community," he said. "And that we need to tell the police particularly that they need to take seriously crimes against trans people." 

The march concluded with a benefit at Cobalt in Dupont Circle to raise money for the victims' hospital bills.

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