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Corner in Montrose dedicated to hate crime victims

Friday, July 29, 2011

Twenty years ago, the murder of Paul Broussard in the Montrose area lead to changes in hate crime laws. Now, there's a change in the neighborhood where he was killed, something meant to honor Broussard and promote peace.

Hundreds, including state legislators, came out on Thursday night to commemorate a special corner in the Montrose area. Organizers hope it will serve as a symbol to embrace diversity throughout the Houston area.

Cameras flash at what is now a special corner on Caifornia and Grant in the Montrose area. A placard memorializes dozens murdered in the gay community over the last four decades.

Don Sinclair's son is the first one on the list. The former pastor's teenage boy was murdered in 1979.

"Policemen asked us if we knew he was gay and we did not know he was gay, so we had to spend a little time to find out about that was and we found out that most of the churches have got it wrong," Sinclair said.

The garden is dedicated to anti-violence. It's also not far from one of Montrose's high-profile murders, the murder of Broussard in 1991.

The hope is the garden will serve as a message of accepting diversity throughout Houston.

"Some of it in Montrose, some of it from bullying in the schools," said Dr. Ann Robinson with the Montrose Counseling Center.

Thursday night's ceremony was diverse. State legislators were on hand and so were parents who once had to learn to accept their gay children.

"We struggled with it, finally went to PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), got to accept them and now we celebrate their lives and we think they're great kids," said Ron Dupree, a father of two gay sons.

Balloons and candles in the somber ceremony now welcome what could be one of the most emotional corners in Montrose.

"In the heart of the gay community, which is where a lot of the violence has taken place, that people will come together and stand up and say no," Robinson said.

The anti-violence corner was dedicated to Broussard and others.

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