Bridgewater: Community marches against hate and homophobia on BSU campus

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Bridgewater State University student Destinie Mogg-Barkalow was punched in the face on campus last Thursday night after attackers questioned whether she wrote the pro-gay marriage editorial in the university’s newspaper, The Comment.

More than 200 students, faculty, and community members in support of gay and transgender rights marched Tuesday afternoon draped in rainbow colored flags chanting “stop the hate”.

Local church-goers attended the rally in support. Reverend Catherine Cullen from the First Parish Church in Duxbury said she spoke about the hate crime incident during Sunday’s service, “We are intentionally welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks and to think that this young woman wrote this article in the newspaper and was physically accosted was sickening.”

Editor–in-chief of The Comment, Mary Polleys, explained the 20-year old journalist was recognized by the attackers for wearing a sweatshirt with the newspaper’s name, “We’re here for Destinie. She’s our girl and our staff member and it was terrible something like this happened to her.”

The university and community is not only recognizing the attack as a hate crime but a crime against freedom of the press and speech.

BSU President Dana Mohler-Faria stated hate will not be tolerated and human rights will be protected, “We can make today an expression of our outrage; outrage over the fact that our freedom of speech, a freedom we so easily take for granted, has been threatened.”

The 20- year old student journalist worked with Plymouth County Sherriff’s Department to generate sketches of the attackers. The sketches have been released and Bridgewater University police are offering a reward for further information.

About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.