NEW GLASGOW – An informal fundraiser and gathering for Scott Jones at Glasgow Square Tuesday night aimed to put volunteers, event organizers and supporters on the same page.
Posters from the PC Rainbow Community were taped to the stage during a fundraiser for Scott Jones. Lavender Menace made the poster referencing both Jones and the death of Matthew Shepard, a gay youth who was brutally attacked in Wyoming in 1998. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS
Stephanie Cooper, one of the fundraiser organizers, wanted to keep the evening light and give friends and supporters a chance to communicate as well as establish a sense of structure.
“I think the outpouring of support is phenomenal, but it needs some organization.”
More than $41,000 has already been raised for Jones, including a donation of $3,980 from Empire Theatres’ last night of operation in New Glasgow.
Before the switch to Cineplex, Empire Theatres donated half their ticket sales on Tuesday night to Scott Jones.
Although there isn’t a goal set yet of how much they want to raise, Cooper said a group will be meeting soon to establish a better sense of the expenses for Jones’s rehabilitation and recovery.
“We’ve accomplished a lot so far, but there’s more to be done.”
More than 100 people were in attendance at Glasgow Square for the evening of music, food and love for Jones.
“I think the power of people and presence is uplifting,” Cooper said.
People also had the opportunity to hear from the family in a short video.
“We’re overwhelmed by the support and response from Pictou County, from Nova Scotia, from Canada and from all corners of the world. Initially, we were just really grateful that Scott was still alive. We never dreamed there would be such support for Scott and his family.
“We all feel, Scott included, that we’re being cradled in the arms of those who love him. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Scott’s mother said as his three sisters sat beside her in the clip.
Posters were taped to the stage from the PC Rainbow Community, including one in tribute to Jones and to Matthew Shepard, a gay youth who was brutally tortured and murdered in Wyoming.
Shepard was the inspiration behind The Laramie Project, a play by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project. It was also adapted into a movie.
Shepard was attacked on Oct. 7, 1998, and died on Oct. 12 in hospital.
Lavender Menace made the poster associating Jones and Shepard.
“I would like to connect them to show that all over the world this type of violence does happen and bring communities together.”
Menace moved to Pictou County a month ago and got involved with the LGBT movement quickly.
“I love this and everything that is happening in Halifax and corporations that are stepping in…. I wish it wouldn’t have happened, but I think it’s going to get better because of it.”
Police haven’t charged the accused, Shane Edward Matheson of Trenton, in Jones’s attack with a hate crime.
Menace believes the restrictions as to what constitutes as a hate crime aren’t working.
The former London, Ont., resident was harassed late one evening prior to moving to Pictou County for reasons she believes to be motivated by homophobia and misogyny.
Although the three men involved were never charged with a hate crime, the slurs they used led her to think that’s why she was singled out.
“I don’t think it tries hard enough, or takes into reality that those words are powerful or that the hate coming out is derived from women or queer people,” she said about the hate crime laws and her experience with it.
One of the main messages of the evening came from a button designed by one of New Glasgow’s former artists-in-residence and a friend of Jones, Katie Roux.
She designed a support button that was “Scott-approved” that reads “don’t be afraid.”
Cooper said this has a number of meanings, including a message to anyone struggling with their sexual orientation or other aspects of who they are.
“The best thing we can do is support, wear our buttons and just encourage people to pull together and live in harmony.”
She said it is also meant to tell people not to be frightened of living their life in New Glasgow, despite what happened to Jones.
Sidebar: Anyone interested in organizing a fundraiser for Jones can email email@example.com to have it listed on the website’s events page.
On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda