BREAKING: Vota Tus Valores ally assaults NOM Tour Tracker videographer. Where does the bullying stop?
October 4, 2010
By Adam Bink
Our videographer, Anthony Ash, was just assaulted by a man associated with the Vota Tus Valores tour. The Vota Tus Valores bus stopped at 17th & Main in Santa Ana, in front of the James G. Roche law firm, which is where today’s rally location was held (more on the Roche law firm later). Anthony was wearing a press pass, holding a small Flipcam and walking next to the private parking lot towards the Vota Tus Valores Bus when approached by an older Latino man (seen below) who said that our Trackers were on private property.
The man, who claimed to be the owner of the property, angrily told Anthony that this was private property, and quickly struck Anthony in the arm, knocking the camera to the ground. Our tour camera has been damaged, and we’re not sure that footage can be recovered. (Update: Anthony is shaken up, but fine. Thanks to all of you for inquiring)
The man, whose name we are working to obtain, then quickly ran into the firm. Now, you’re probably asking why in the world an event was held in a parking lot of a law firm at 17th and Main in Santa Ana. Well, guess whose smiling face is plastered on the front page of jamesgrochelaw.com:
James G. Roche Proudly Welcomes Our New Senior Counsel/Alfonso Aguilar/Former Chief of the USCIS Office of Citizenship/Alfonso will provide you with his exclusive and expert counsel.
The James G. Roche law firm, which has its main office in Santa Ana, specializes in immigration law. They also have an entire page devoted to photos of Alfonso, as well as a bio and recent articles/news clips. This is Alfonso’s home base. I’m guessing the reason the event was held here is because they needed a location after moving it from this morning’s planned location, most likely because they didn’t have a permit, and so they could claim private property and bully anyone they didn’t want there.
The Santa Ana police were quick to respond. They quickly stopped the Vota Tus Valores Bus from making a quick getaway, and a complaint has been filed with the police for battery. More to come on the legal proceedings as it comes in.
Last, a few personal words on this behavior.
Last week, the attention of our nation was captivated by the suicide of the fifth and sixth gay teens in the past month alone. The rationale that drove them to such a tragic end was bullying, plain and simple. Bullying by secret videotape or bullying by peers in a Houston-area school.
This is a different kind of bullying, but the intent is the same: to make people feel like they are second-class, beneath those who bully.
It’s a pattern, now. Brian Brown doesn’t like that LGBT and allied supporters of equality stood up and exposed him and his organization for what they are, so he tried to have us evicted in Annapolis over the summer, an event for which the police apologized to Courage Campaign Institute. Alfonso argued he and his staff have “freedom of movement” and tried to intimidate us away from documenting their anti-equality arguments. Thomas tried to physically block Anthony from filming at a recent tour stop.
It’s all emblematic of the same problem: to make people feel like they are second-class.
I’m now openly gay, but I wasn’t always open. I’ve been harassed in my day- in the locker room, in school, at summer camp. They all did it for the same reason: because I’m different, and to them, people who are different are second-class.
So I know bullies when I see them, and that’s what I’m calling you, NOM: bullies. Do you hear me? You are no different than the bullies who harassed me or harassed those poor kids or anyone else across America.
You know why? Because you can’t handle us being every bit as equal as you.
And you know what else? It just cost you.