Santa Barbara’s Pacific Pride Foundation, in conjunction with Just Communities, the Anti-Defamation League and other community groups, is organizing a candlelight vigil in memory of Lawrence “Larry” King, the 15-year-old Oxnard student who died last week after being shot at school by classmates who perceived him to be gay. Those organizing the event emphasized in a press release the need for stronger anti-bulling policies in schools, as King had been previously harassed by other students, including the boy now charged with his murder. The Santa Barbara vigil is just one of many around the country mourning the teen’s death.
The vigil begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, February 22, at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens and then traveling from there to Trinity Church at 1500 State Street. “This is a tragic demonstration of what lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender identified youth in our schools fear on a daily basis,” said Pacific Pride executive director David Selberg in the statement. “Schools must address the fact that 38 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender teens face physical harassment in a place that should be a nurturing environment.”