Anthony Collao is dead. He allegedly fell victim to a brutal beating at the hands of four other teens – Nolis Ogando, Christopher Lozada, Luis Tabales and Alex Velez – who crashed a party that Collao attended hosted by two gay men in Queens, NY. It is unclear whether Collao himself is gay – quite honestly, I don’t think that this fact is relevant to the story. A young man is dead because four other young men acted on their ignorance and like a savage pack of wolves in the wild, they targeted, beat and left an innocent individual to lose a fight for his life.
We can sit by in pity that an innocent young man had his life stripped away because others believed him to be gay. Would we be more outraged if he was killed for being Black or Latino? The reality is that these are OUR children. Whether our children are the victim or the assailants, we have allowed and in some cases perpetuated, the ignorance that incited these types of attacks.
Yesterday the popular Fox television series Glee featured a kiss between Kurt and Blaine – two of the popular series’ protagonists. I felt a sense of pride that we had come far along enough to feature two teen males sharing a kiss on national television and that it would be accepted as normal as seeing any of the other opposite sex characters kissing. Then I’m met with the story of Anthony Collao and my heart breaks.
Our children are at risk – of having their lives ended by ignorant beliefs that result in a wanton disregard for life and for diversity. They are in danger of never reaching adulthood or spending their adult lives in prison.
We MUST teach our children that life is precious AND that the beauty of life is in the richness of its individuality. Black, White, Latino, Gay, Straight, Challenged, etc., we are priceless beings that must be respected, cherished and valued for our differences.
Keep passin’ the open windows…