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NCAVP mourns the hate violence homicide of Juan Javier Cruz in Lake Worth, FL

NCAVP mourns the death of Juan Javier Cruz, who was fatally shot after defending his group of friends against homophobic slurs on August 6. According to media reports, Cruz, who was 22 years old, and a group of friends were leaving a restaurant and were followed by 48-year-old Nelson Hernandez Mena, who called out the group homophobic slurs and threatened them with physical violence before shooting Cruz, who had defended his friends. Mena has been charged with Cruz’s murder.

We mourn the loss of Juan Javier Cruz, who in defending the lived experiences of himself and his friends lost his own life to fatal violence. Toxic masculinity and patriarchy affects LGBTQ immigrants and communities of color in multiple, intersecting ways, and it is only by addressing these systems of oppression that we can work to end hate violence in our communities. We send love and care to those friends of Juan’s whom he defended, and to his friends and loved ones.

Though we ask our allies and community members to pledge #IWillNotStandBy when witnessing violence on public transportation or on the street, we also know that it can be very dangerous to intervene, and that every incident of violence is different. Never put your own safety at risk, and be sure to assess the situation before intervening. Visit #IWillNotStandBy to learn tips on bystander intervention.

In memory of Juan Javier Cruz.

Larissa Pham

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