LGBT Community Wracked in Grief: Funeral for Mollie Olgin; Candlelight Vigils Coast to Coast


  Mollie Olgin's family and friends prepare to bury her today in Corpus Christi, Texas after the unexplained attack on Olgin and her surviving girlfriend  Mary Kristene  Chapa,  has ignited the LGBT community and its allies in anger and sorrow   


Barely a week after most June Pride celebrations were held across the country, this afternoon, the family and friends of Mollie Olgin, 19 years old will be buried in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas.  One week ago, she was spending time with her girlfriend Mary Kristene Chapa at the Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas when she was shot in her head and killed instantaneously by an unknown assailant.

Mary"Krissy" Kristene Chapa, also shot, remains in a local hospital in stable condition, who, according to statements by her brother Hilario, is making an "amazing recovery" and is  able to communicate by using sign language. She is also able to move on her right side, although no response from her left side yet.  Doctors say Krissy could have a complete recovery, although she does not have health insurance.

The Portland Texas Police Department released a description of the assailant yesterday, who is described at in his late 2o's to 40, white or light-skinned Hispanic, dark hair, 5' 8" and approximately 140 lbs.  The police indicated that the women did not know their assailant.

Earlier in the week the  police department issued a statement this week indicating that there is no evidence thus far indicating that this was a hate crime, but their investigation continues.  The Texas Rangers, the Texan state police have opened an investigation. Equality Texas, in partnership with the the Human Rights Campaign contacted the U.S. Department of Justice who offered assistance by its Community Relations unit.  In a statement issued by the group, Texas Equality thanked the Department of Justice for their quick response. Vigils for the women began on Wednesday evening in San Francisco, organized by gay activist Cleve Jones, who issued a call to LGBT people and their allies and friends to come together across the country, to hold a vigil to the couple, calling the community together in a moment of terrible violence. Last night the first Texas vigil took place in Mollie Olgin's hometown of Corpus Christi.  Following this afternoon's burial of Olgin, vigils will continue and have been organized throughout the country, including in Canada, according to Michael Divesti, a Texas gay activist and one of the leaders of GetEQUAL Texas.  The group is organizing two solidarity vigils in Austin and Dallas.  Divesti has been channeling his frustration, anger and frustration by organizing a central listing of vigils by publishing them on a dedicated page of GetEQUAL Texas website.

"Whether the attacks on Mollie and Mary Kristene were anti-LGBT, or not, and when something happens against any member of our community," said Divesti," we all feel threatened and recognize our mortality and vulnerability." For those who want to contribute on-line to Mary Christene's insurance fund go to: Money orders and checks made out to:  Mary Christine Chapa Fund should be mailed to: Prosperity Bank 1127 E. Sinton St. Sinton, Texas 78387 Fort updated information on vigils around the country, go to the GetEQUAL Texas website for further information.   Tanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement blog.  She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia.  Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights and gender issues.  She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL.  Domi is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.