Community members rally in downtown Wilmington. Photo Credit: Thomas Ballis/Family Tree Productions
Community members rally in downtown Wilmington. Photo Credit: Thomas Ballis/Family Tree Productions

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Aiming to spark community discussion on hate crimes after an anti-gay attack last month, a dozen people gathered today outside the New Hanover County Courthouse for a morning rush hour rally.

The group organizing the event, Safer Communities Action Now! (SCAN), said the demonstration’s intent was to raise awareness of hate crimes legislation that would protect victims on the basis of sexual orientation and gender-identity. Such legislation has stalled in the North Carolina legislature for years, but the July 17 attack on two gay men on a riverfront street in downtown Wilmington has brought a renewed focus on the issue of hate crimes and community safety.

The two men, recent University of North Carolina-Wilmington graduates, were punched and kicked repeatedly. Both will need several surgeries and one is suffering from brain injuries causing impaired motor functions. The four accused of the crime face felony assault charges.

— Stay tuned to Q-Notes for more on this story and more.

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Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.