Oct. 14, 2015 By Michael Florio
A documentary about the murder of a gay Jackson Heights man and its impact on the LGBT movement will be screened this Friday.
The film tells the story of the death of Julio Rivera, a resident who was beaten and killed in 1990 by three men from a skinhead gang for simply being gay.
“Julio of Jackson Heights,” will be played on October 16th at 6:30 pm, at CUNY’s CLAGS: Center for LGBTQ Studies, located at 365 Fifth Avenue, room 7115, in Manhattan.
Richard Shpuntoff, who has been actively involved in LGBT issues and has followed the Rivera case closely, is directing the documentary. He will host a Q&A after the screening.
Rivera, who was a 29-year-old bartender at the time of his death, was walking home on July 2nd, 1990, at 3 a.m. when he was beaten with a hammer and beer bottle—and stabbed–inside the schoolyard at P.S. 69.
Police originally viewed the murder as a “drug deal gone bad,” but ultimately declared the case a hate crime.
Several gay men were murdered in Jackson Heights in the 1970s and ‘80s that were never solved, according to Shpuntoff’s website.
Following Rivera’s murder, the neighborhood rallied against hate crimes and held several vigils in Rivera’s honor.
This is viewed as the incident that led to the launch of the LGBT movement in Jackson Heights, according to Councilman Daniel Dromm.
“Julio’s murder twenty five years ago sparked an outrage and a determination in our community to speak up and send a powerful message against anti-LGBT hate and bias crimes,” Dromm said recently.
A vigil was held in July to remember Rivera, who was killed 25 years ago.
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