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Gay Rights Advocates March Against Hate Crimes

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Hundreds gathered for a march through the West Village Monday night in response to the murder of a gay man last weekend in what police are calling a hate crime. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

It was a show of strength for a community that's felt increasingly under attack.

A sea of LGBT supporters marched through the West Village Monday to the corner of Sixth avenue and West Eighth Street, the site of Friday night's shooting that left 32-year-old Mark Carson dead. He was shot, police say, for no other reason than someone thought he was gay.

"How can someone take the life of another human being for no reason?" said one person at the march.

"For us, it's very frightening that you could just walk down the street and all of a sudden, have somebody come up and literally assassinate you," said City Councilman Daniel Dromm of Queens.

The march drew not only LGBT leaders and elected officials, including nearly all the Democratic candidates for mayor, but also ordinary New Yorkers who came out to mourn Carson's death and to denounce hate violence.

"Show of unity is important," said one person at the march. "We're not going away. We're right here, and we have as much rights as anybody else to enjoy this city safely."

"Gay rights, we're still fighting for them, and the fight is not over," said a second. "It's nowhere close to being over."

Some of Carson's family members were there. His aunt briefly addressed the crowd.

"The family would also like to have justice be served so that Mark's death was not in vain," she said.

Police arrested 33-year-old Elliott Morales in connection with the murder, but it appears not to be an isolated case of intolerance. Police say hate crimes have seen an uptick this year, with five anti-gay attacks over the past three weeks. In response, city officials are launching an initiative in city schools against hate crimes.

"I don't know why it feels like we've taken a step backwards, but that is the case," Quinn said. "What we're going to do with that is push forward and make sure we do the organizing, the education, the public safety work we need to do to make sure we don't go backwards. The worst thing we could do is go backwards. We need to make sure we honor the life of Mark Carson and the other survivors of hate crimes recently in our city by pushing forward."

City officials also announced other initiatives Monday, including plans for a hate crime public awareness campaign and an increased police presence in areas of Manhattan's West Side, where hate crimes occurred, through the end of June, which is LGBT Pride Month.

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