The story of a Nova Scotia man who was brutally stabbed last month has sparked an awareness campaign encouraging people to speak up against homophobia.
Scott Jones, 27, is recovering after he was stabbed in the back twice and his throat was slashed on Oct. 12 in New Glasgow. The injury to Jones's throat was superficial, but the stabbing severed his spinal cord, leaving him a paraplegic.
Police haven’t called it a hate crime, but many of Jones's friends say he was attacked because he is openly gay.
The Facebook-based Don’t Be Afraid campaign includes a series of photos of people holding up a colourful sign reading “Don’t be afraid." People have also sent along their own personal, positive messages.
Contributors have sent in notes from across Canada and as far away as France.
"It's just love," reads one.
"You think you are normal, but you are just hetero," says another.
Jones’s own message on the group’s Facebook site reads: “Acknowledging and letting go of fear can lead to a deeper level of acceptance. Don’t be afraid to face your fear; don’t be afraid to love and accept yourself.”
Supporters hold fundraisers
The musician’s supporters are also rallying to raise money for his long recovery.
About 40 performers and poets came out to a fundraiser called Gottingen Street for Scott Jones on Thursday night. The event was spread between seven venues.
Many had never met Scott Jones, but felt compelled to take part.
Cory LeRue said it was great to see different artists uniting to fight homophobia.
“That just shows the strength of the music scene here in Halifax. Just the strength of community in general that people are just willing to help their fellow Haligonian or Nova Scotian,” he said.
Organizer Rose Allen said it was touching to see Jones's family come out to see the outpouring of support.
“It’s really fantastic to see a huge cross-representation of the citizens of Halifax. We have members of the music industry, we have music fans, we have members of the queer communities, we have families, people of all ages. It’s really inspiring to see everybody rally together,” she said.
More than $113,000 has been raised for Jones since he was attacked in the Thanksgiving weekend.