Montrose Remembrance Garden to be Dedicated on Thursday, July 28

The Aaron Scheerhoorn Foundation, Local business owner Charles Armstrong and Montrose Counseling Center will dedicated the northwest corner of California and Grant streets as the “Montrose Remembrance Garden” on Thursday, July 28th at 8 pm. Grace's own Pastor Lura Groen will lead the candle lighting at the dedication.

Two events stand as bookends to the history of violence against LGBT people in Montrose, the murder of Paul Broussard in 1991 and the murder of Aaron Scheerhoorn last December.

Paul Broussard, a gay man, was murdered at the corner of the 2200 block of Montrose and West Drew on July 4, 1991. The murder galvanized Houston’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities to demand justice for the victims of hate crimes. On July 5 it was announced that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will grant parole to Jon Buice, who – along with nine others – were convicted of Broussard’s murder. Police say Buice was the one that stabbed Broussard, and he is the only one still serving time in prison.

“It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since we took to these very streets to protest the stabbing death of Paul Broussard,” says Charles Armstrong, who owns several businesses in the neighborhood, along with the corner that’s being dedicated. According to Armstrong, for as long as he owns the real estate, the corner will be a place “dedicated for reflection and the memorial of all victims of hate crimes and senseless bullying.”

“We are coming together this time to remember Paul, along with countless others in our community who have met an untimely end as the victim of violence.” Armstrong is the host of the observance, which is open to the entire community and will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 28. The evening will begin with guest speakers, and then a candlelight vigil. The evening will conclude with a balloon release.

Ann J. Robison, PhD, Executive Director of Montrose Counseling Center had been at the helm for just three years when Paul was murdered. In response to this and other crimes committed both within and against the GLBT communities, MCC developed an Anti-Violence Program, which includes counseling and advocacy to anyone who is the victim of bias/hate violence, sexual assault or same-sex domestic violence.

Aaron Scheerhoorn was stabbed to death just a few blocks from where Broussard was slain. Scheerhoorn died just six months ago in what witnesses describe as a brutal stabbing. A group of his friends formed the Aaron Scheerhoorn Foundation for Change and initially approached Armstrong to plant a tree in Scheerhoorn’s memory. Armstrong, who is friends with Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, decided to dedicate not just the tree but the entire corner to the victims of violence, including youth who are being bullied.

Scheerhoorn Foundation representative Alan Everett refers to the corner as the Montrose Remembrance Garden. His hopes are that the garden will become, “a place for honor, reflection, memorial and comfort for those people who have been affected not just by the murder of our friend Aaron, but also for any of the families and friends of victims of past violent acts and murders which have taken place in this community throughout the course of many years. It is a place of refuge and peace, solace and quiet, full of nature’s beauty.”

In addition to Broussard and Scheerhoorn the garden is dedicated to Fred Paez, Marion Pantzer, Charles Hebert, Fred Mangoine, Marc Kajas, Ross Allyn, Kenneth Cummings, Myra Ical, Gypsy Rodrigues, Asher Brown, Nathan Davis and all victims of violence, victims of hate crimes, and those who were subjected to bullying.

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