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David Kato, Ugandan Gay Activist Slain on January 26, Vigils Scheduled in New York & Cape Town for February 3
photo provided by Bruce-Michael Gelbert
As the Ugandan Parliament considers the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, introduced by Member of Parliament David Bahati in 2009, designed to criminalize advocacy or support for LGBT people, and calling for the death penalty for homosexual activity, in the wake of preaching and lobbying by homophobic American evangelical missionaries Scott Lively, author of “7 Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child;” “ex-gay” Caleb Lee Brundage; and Exodus International Board Member Don Schmierer, all discredited in the United States, prominent Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato, a teacher, and leading opponent of the anti-gay legislative measure, was brutally slain, beaten to death with a hammer, in his home in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Kato’s photo and address, along with those of other gay men and lesbians, had appeared in a front page article with the headline “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak,” and the banners “National Scandal” and “Hang Them,” in the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone in the fall of 2010.

Vigils in David Kato’s memory were scheduled to be held on February 3, in New York City, at 4 p.m. at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, at Second Avenue and 47th Street, with a silent procession to Uganda House, 336 East 45th Street, between First and Second Avenues, at 5 p.m., and in Cape Town, South Africa, at 5 p.m. local time at Six Spin Street, opposite Church Square.

Organizations sponsoring the New York vigil are ACT UP/New York, African Services Committee, American Jewish World Service, Amnesty International, amfAR The Foundation for AIDS Research, ARC International, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, Center for Women's Global Leadership, Council for Global Equality, Freedom and Roam Uganda, Gay By God, The Gay Men's Health Crisis, Global Forum on MSM & HIV, Global Justice Ministry Health GAP (Global Access Project), House Of Rainbow Fellowship, Human Rights Campaign, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Immigration Equality, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, National Black Justice Coalition, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The New York City Anti-Violence Project, None on Record, Political Research Associates, The Queer African Youth Networking Center, Queers for Economic Justice, Sexual Minorities Uganda, Stonewall Community Foundation, St. Paul's Foundation For International Reconciliation, Wapinduzi Productions.

The keynote speaker is to be Val Kalende, Board Chair of Ugandan LGBT organization Freedom and Roam Uganda, who has said, “"David will be greatly missed and it is going to be extremely difficult to replace his leadership. But we cannot afford to remain silent as the government of Uganda continues to show its unwillingness to protect the fundamental rights of LGBT citizens. There is no better time than this for our government to drop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and to stop the religious-sponsored homophobia that might have caused David's death and might lead to the loss of many others."

The Cape Town vigil was organized by IGLHRC, AIDS Rights Alliance for Southern Africa, and Gender Dynamix.

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