City Council Speaker Makes Announcement At Queens Pride Parade

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gay pride was on full display at the 21st annual Queens Pride Parade.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, there were plenty of rainbow flags, dancers and smiles at the parade. But the genesis of the event was tragedy.

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“It happens on an avenue where Julio Rivera in the early 90s was murdered,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told Smith.

Quinn, herself openly gay, said the parade has taken on extra significance in LGBT community this year. There has been a string of recent assaults on gay men in the city, including the fatal shooting of Mark Carson last month.

“This is the kind of violence and frequency and in severity we haven’t seen in a really long time,” Quinn said at the Jackson Heights parade. “It isn’t safe to be gay everywhere in New York City.”

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Quinn on Sunday announced a series of free self-defense classes starting next weekend being provided by the city. The lessons will focus on street smarts more than actual fighting, Quinn said.

“We are more powerful than we realize just by how we hold ourselves,” she told Smith.

Quinn said much has changed, but the spike in violence shows more has to still be done.

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