Vigil for Randy Gener brings together family, friends and strangers in a hopeful cry for justice

Keeping the candle light burning in the breezy, bitter cold night. Photo by Vázquez Bonnefoi Dulzaidez Aspillaga

Keeping the candle light burning in the breezy, bitter cold night. Photo by Vanessa Aspillaga

By Lorial Crowder

I do not know Randy Gener personally but I joined some 60 people who, in a breezy, bitter cold night, lit candles as we urged justice for his brutal attack.

I did meet Randy briefly the evening he was awarded Outstanding Artist by the Filipino American National Historical Society of Metro New York, in October of 2012. This was enough reason for me to join a vigil organized by family and friends on January 26th at 53rd Street and 7th Avenue, a block from his home.

The moment my friend told me that Randy was brutally attacked last week of January 17th, I went into community organizer mode and asked what I could do to help. I went to the computer in hopes of collecting more information. I read enough to realize that his condition was severe though stable.

But those are only words, and I cannot imagine what his physical and mental state is like as he lays in his hospital bed. Randy is currently incapacitated due to his injuries while both family and friends want questions to be answered promptly. The attack may likely have been a hate crime, according to friends and advocates, but it seemed like more pressure needed to be put on Precinct 18 and on the detectives handling the case.

Information is still coming in and there are high hopes that the wide media coverage of the case may lead to finding more witnesses.

It was a sobering moment as Randy’s friends who had only heard of the incident earlier in the day and others who were still in shock. A friend of mine joined me at the vigil because she knew Randy’s sister while she lived in California.

The sister, Jessica Blair Driessler, flew in from California to be beside her brother during this difficult time. She was besieged by news reporters to whom she made an appeal for witnesses who may have seen something to “come forward.”

The intimate group of family and friends from his theater and Filipino American circles stood silently for a few seconds with their heads down. Some were quietly in tears, others in muted anger that yet another member of the LGBT community has been brutalized.

Shortly after some announcements were made, folks walked to the nearby Columbus Circle monument. I was especially touched to see some prominent individuals, such as esteemed author Luis Francia and our recently elected Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer. I was especially surprised to see, of all people, my neighbor who lives next door to me. Jessica spoke the last words of the night thanking all who came out to support and to seek justice for her brother.

A site has been started by his friends to raise funds for medical expenses. About $30,000 of the $50,000 has been raised in mere days and speaks in volumes how precious Randy is to so many people.

To make a donation, go here.


  1. […] Two vigils were held this week to urge justice in the wake of the brutal attack January 17 on the Filipino-American critic, artist and playwright Randy Gener, who remains hospitalized after treatment for severe head trauma. On January 26, about 60 family and friends gathered at 53rd Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan, close to Gener’s home, reports Lorial Crowder in The FilAm. […]

  2. Willie K. wrote:

    So sad.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: