Hate Crime Victim Needs Help

$630 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 15 people in 43 months
Theresa Berst Hawkins   BIRMINGHAM, AL
My friend, Richie Covington was attacked on January 5th because he is gay. He has no insurance and needs money to pay his medical bills.

Richie told me, "If I could help get [an expanded] Hate Crime Law passed in Alabama, then I'd do it all over again. It'd be worth it to help someone else." Alabama's current Hate Crime Law does not cover crimes committed against individuals due to their sexual orientation.

My Story

By: Richie Covington

On January 5th, I was walking to the store to get some groceries for my mother, whom I help take care of. She has a bad heart condition and is on hospice care. I had to walk by a gas station on my way there. When I was walking by, this man in his 30s with a strong Southern accent yelled to get my attention: not realizing I was a guy at first. When I turned and spoke to him, he said, "Oh my God, you're a faggot!"

I usually ignore people when they say things like that to me, but he caught me in an uncharacteristically bad mood that day, so I decided to defend myself. I said, "Damn right I'm a fag, what of it?" and kept going. I never stopped or even made eye contact. It's my habit of ignoring the bully when I'm in a situation like that. I feel like if you make eye contact with a person bullying you, acknowledging that you are being affected their taunts, it can make it worse. So I kept on moving and didn't look back.

I was about to turn the corner, when I heard him scream from right behind me, "Hey faggot." Not even really thinking about it I turned around. He first punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. When I doubled over, all of a sudden my vision went black and I was seeing stars. He punched me directly in the nose. I fell to the ground and felt him kick me over before I blacked out. The guy took our grocery money from my coat pocket (twenty dollars) and got back to his car to leave. It all happened very fast, it was over in just a couple minutes.

I was gushing blood and it took me a good couple of minutes sitting there before I realized what had happened, that he had punched me in the face and that's why I was bleeding. I've never in my life been hit before. It was very scary and startling. I put my scarf up to my nose and walked back home. There I cleaned the blood off.

My mom told me that I needed stitches and probably had a broken nose. I knew I needed to report the attack to the police, but I going to the ER took precedence at the time. I called the hospital and they said they'd call a police officer to file a report when I came to the ER.

So I called a couple friends for a ride to and from the ER. That night my nightmares were so bad I bit my tongue and woke to blood in my mouth from the sore where I'd bitten it. I'm in constant pain. And even though it is due to my vanity, what I felt like was already my worst trait (my big Italian nose) was now even worse. My huge nose was now a huge crooked nose. They couldn't do anything about it at the ER. I needed stitches and they said it was too swollen to do anything about it. They told me I'd probably have to go to a plastic surgeon to fix it. They gave me a number to call for a follow up appointment, but I don't have insurance for any such thing and certainly don't have the money to pay for it. I don't work because most of my time is spent taking care of my mom. We live on her alimony and barely scrape by as it is.

I've heard about these things happening, but it was always a distant thing that I never thought would happen to me. I keep replaying it in my head, what if:

What if: I would've waited five more minutes before I left home?

What if... I wouldn't have replied to that guy?

What if... I'd have been more careful and noticed him behind me before he called out to me?

What if: I had fought back?

An officer came to the ER to make out the police report. He seemed very uninterested. He asked me what happened, wrote it down, and left. He was there all of about 5 minutes. I always thought hate crimes were much more serious. Later I found out Alabama doesn't have hate crime laws that cover the gay community. Go figure, Alabama not having comprehensive hate crime laws.

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Update 4
41 months ago
I am so touched by all the kind comments people have left on this page. Thank you for caring about making hatred and fear less for all of us... gay or straight!
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Update 3
42 months ago
Would you please consider sharing this site with your friends on facebook, twitter, or email? Donations have slowed and Richie still doesn't have anywhere enough for the surgery. I appreciate all those who have donated and spent time reading Richie's story.
I also hope that we can affect the legistlation in Alabama concerning broadening the Hate Crime laws.
Thank you again!
Theresa
Richie's friend
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Update 2
42 months ago
This is the interview FOX6 in Birmingham produced for Richie and for the LGBT community's fight for better laws in Alabama.
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Update 1
42 months ago
Please consider helping my friend Richie who was attacked simply because he is gay. He has a broken nose and needs a plastic surgeon to correct it. Because he helps his mom who is in hospice, he is unable to work and has no insurance for his bills. Thank You!!
Theresa
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Read a Previous Update
Help spread the word!
 325 total shares
Kristy Manes
42 months ago

I'm shocked and saddened, and I hate this for you - I've lived in AL and both my sisters are still there, and I hate to admit, but there are many bad rednecks - there are also many very lovely people there, many of whom are also rednecks. I have ZERO money for you, but I can pray for and support you by letting you know this is UTTERLY reprehensible, and I hope so much that you heal quickly and feel better soon. Sometimes I'm simply ashamed of the Human Race. I will definitely sign a petition for you, and PLEASE know, not all Southerners are this frigging stupid, as well as not all anti-gays are in the South - well, I'd guess you already know THAT much, sad to say. Be well, God bless you and you ARE LOVED. And major kudos for caring for your ailing Mom - I'll bet you are a tremendous blessing for and to her.

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$630 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 15 people in 43 months
Created January 10, 2013
Theresa Berst Hawkins  
  Medical   BIRMINGHAM, AL
$250
Anonymous
9 months ago
$50
Anonymous
41 months ago
$20
Gregory Hruz
42 months ago

I'm a 57 gwm and I've known your kind of pain. Hope this little contribution helps. My love and prays go out to you. I'm on facebook and AOL. feel free to contact me anytime you need to talk or vent. Gay Love to you my friend. Stay strong for you and your MOM. "XO"

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JM
$25
John Meier
42 months ago

Im so sorry this happened to you; people who live with hate in their hearts are simply "existing" with that burden. Continue to take care of your mother and I hope, as time passes, you can heal.

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$25
Anonymous
42 months ago
$10
Rachel Brown
42 months ago

So sorry this happened.......

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$20
Shayrah Akers
42 months ago

I hope this little bit can help and I will try to tell as many people as I know. XOXO

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TB
$50
terri boykin
42 months ago

I hope you can heal soon, both physically and emotionally. I have cared for my Dad when he was very ill and know it's a full-time job; you are a wonderful human being for caring for her.

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$20
Anonymous
42 months ago
CM
$20
Christopher Musto
42 months ago
Kristy Manes
42 months ago

I'm shocked and saddened, and I hate this for you - I've lived in AL and both my sisters are still there, and I hate to admit, but there are many bad rednecks - there are also many very lovely people there, many of whom are also rednecks. I have ZERO money for you, but I can pray for and support you by letting you know this is UTTERLY reprehensible, and I hope so much that you heal quickly and feel better soon. Sometimes I'm simply ashamed of the Human Race. I will definitely sign a petition for you, and PLEASE know, not all Southerners are this frigging stupid, as well as not all anti-gays are in the South - well, I'd guess you already know THAT much, sad to say. Be well, God bless you and you ARE LOVED. And major kudos for caring for your ailing Mom - I'll bet you are a tremendous blessing for and to her.

+ Read More
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