Center to Hold Vigil for Slain Gay Teen

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The Utah Pride Center will hold a candlelight vigil on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. for Lawrence King, a gay California teenager who died Feb. 14 of multiple gunshot wounds to the head in an anti-gay attack.

King, an eighth grader at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif., was shot by a classmate on Tuesday, Feb. 12. He was declared brain-dead the following day and taken off life support on Valentine’s Day. The 14-year-old gunman, Brandon David McInerney, was one of several students known to have bullied King because of his sexuality and because he sometimes wore makeup, jewelry and high heel shoes to school.

McInerney has been charged with murder and committing a hate crime and will be tried as an adult. He could face sentence of 24 years to life for King’s murder with an additional three years for the hate crime charge.

King’s death has prompted California Assemblyman Mike Eng, D-Alhambra, to introduce a bill mandating diversity and sensitivity training in public schools to California’s legislative session.

“We need to teach young people that there's a curriculum called tolerance education that should be in every school. We should teach young people that diversity is not something to be assaulted, but diversity is something that needs to be embraced because diversity makes California the great state that it is,” Eng told the Los Angeles Times.

The Utah Pride Center and its teen group, Tolerant Intelligent Network of Teens, will hold the vigil in honor of King and of all who have been killed in anti-gay hate crimes. The vigil’s attendees are asked to meet in the back of the Center’s parking lot.

The Utah Pride Center is located at 355 North 300 West.

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