June 30, 2015 By Michael Florio
Just days after the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage, Jackson Heights residents will be holding a vigil to remember the life of man who was tragically murdered for being gay.
Councilman Daniel Dromm is hosting a candlelight vigil tomorrow night at 6 pm, to remember the life of Julio Rivera, who was killed while walking home 25 years ago, by three men from a skinhead gang, who went out looking to kill a gay man.
The vigil will be held on Julio Rivera Corner, located at the southwest corner of 78th Street and 37th Ave.
Rivera, a 29-year-old bartender at the time, was walking home on July 2nd, 1990, at 3 a.m. when two men, Erik Brown, 21, and Esat Bici, 19, approached him.
The two men lured Rivera into the schoolyard of P.S. 69 at 77-02 37th Ave, where the two and their friend, Daniel Doyle, began beating Rivera with a hammer and beer bottle. He later died from a stab wound that was inflicted by Doyle.
Police originally viewed the murder as a “drug deal gone bad” but ultimately declared the case a hate crime.
Following the murder, the neighborhood rallied against hate crimes and held several vigils in Rivera’s honor.
Rivera’s murder sparked the Queens LGBT movement and led to the creation of the Queens Pride Parade.
Friends and family members of Rivera, LGBTQ activists and community members will join Dromm tomorrow night.