Alumnus boosts activism against anti-gay crime after brutal attack

Ever since Jared Fox ’09 was beaten by a mob of about 20 young men outside of a Cleveland gay bar on August 31 in an anti-gay hate crime, he has upped his already zealous efforts to educate the public that showing violence or cruelty toward an individual who identifies as LGBTQ is wrong.

“In 2013, people think to themselves, ‘Things like this don’t happen any more.’ I really wanted to tell my story because it needed to be told,” Fox said.

One component of his mission to educate brought him back to campus during Homecoming Week to talk to students, faculty, and staff about how his liberal arts education prepared him to be a man who knows how to effectively take action.

He started his presentation by showing a nine-minute video he filmed of himself the morning after the attack. His bloodied and bruised face filled the frame as he told his story. It’s a video he shared publicly with his social media followers and that, to date, has more than 9,000 views on YouTube.

Fox was thrown into the public spotlight after the attack, and he felt relieved that he knew how to write, he knew how to talk to city council and law enforcement officials, and he knew how to work with people from diverse backgrounds.

During his presentation, he pulled quotes from actual papers he wrote as a student at the College that related to the skills he’s utilizing for his activism some three or four years later. This, he said, has been the “ultimate test” of his independent scholar major in community organizing and activism.

“Lake Forest is a place where I learned how to appropriately deal with things like this,” Fox said.

Cleveland police have arrested six individuals related to the incident, said Fox, who lives in New York City. He plans to return to Cleveland, his home city, for the first of the trial proceedings later this month. He also continues to participate in the dialogue of the city’s efforts to fight hate crime. Just two weeks ago, he participated in a their town hall meeting entitled “Hate crime laws and LGBTQ safety” with about 40-50 city officials via Skype.

His story has been followed by the Cleveland media, including the NBC and Fox affiliates.

Fox wants justice, and he wants to be the voice of the many victims who do not report their crimes out of fear. His latest idea that he hopes to run with soon is to build an online platform called “Hate Happened Here” where people can safely report their hate experiences and show elected officials where these crimes are occurring.

“There is not really any way to galvanize community support around fighting hate crime, and hate crime happens all the time,” he said. “I’m really working to build something.”