City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (l.) marching in last year's LGBT Pride March with his husband Dan Hendrick. | DONNA ACETO
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating a homophobic death threat from an unknown source received by out gay City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, a Sunnyside, Queens Democrat, on Thursday afternoon.
A letter arrived on Thursday via email after Van Bramer’s office sent a mass email to constituents urging them to take part in his #QueensResponds march Saturday across the Queensboro Bridge to Trump Tower to rally against the president-elect.
The following day, Van Bramer said, a second threat was posted to his Facebook page calling for him to be thrown from the bridge.
On Wednesday night, more than 700 members of the community packed the Sunnyside Community Services Center to speak out against Trump’s and Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s structural and systematic racism toward the Muslim and other immigrant communities, as well as their misogyny and homophobia.
The town hall meeting and Saturday’s march are a clear message that while Trump was born and raised in Queens, it’s not the same borough as in his childhood.
Van Bramer’s office received the first threat just after 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“Rest of the people from Queens do not agree with your homosexual lifestyle, so get the fuck out of this country you fucking traitor” the email read. “I will keep a close eye on your every moves [sic] so that when it’s time to execute traitors, I will try my best so that you [sic] name is included in that list of traitors. Execution is the penalty for a traitor, that is the Law Of This Land!”
The “unknown source” called the 700 attendees at Wednesday’s town hall in Sunnyside communist socialists.
Van Bramer, who is the Council's majority leader, said Friday morning he is not afraid and his #QueensResponds march across the Queensboro Bridge will not be canceled.
A spokesman for the NYPD said its Hate Crimes Task Force is looking into the emailed threat.
“This is not normal or acceptable, but we will not back down. We still plan on marching tomorrow and fighting the racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic demagoguery of Donald Trump,” Van Bramer said Friday. “Queens is the most diverse county in the country, and we know that our differences make us stronger. We will fight for these values every single day, no matter what. I am not scared and I will not back down. Too many are at risk. We must all stand up and peacefully resist.”
Protesters will gather at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Dutch Kills Green at Northern Boulevard and Queens Plaza North.
This story was originally published in the Queens Times Ledger, a sister publication of Gay City News.