Eighth-grader Larry King will be remembered at vigils throughout the country Friday night, two years after he was shot to death by a classmate at his Oxnard junior high school.
The killing at E. O. Green School made national headlines as allegations emerged about growing tensions on campus related to King’s feminine appearance in the weeks before the Feb. 12, 2008, shooting. King, 15, wore makeup, jewelry and women’s boots with his school uniform and had told friends he was gay.
Brandon McInerney, 14 at the time of the shooting, was charged as an adult. He has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and hate crime allegations, and his trial is set to begin in May.
“There is still pain in this community about it,” said Julia Balen, an associate professor at CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo, where a vigil will be held Friday. As long as that pain remains, Balen said, it’s important to remember and talk about the slaying.
In the weeks that followed the shooting, vigils for King were held coast to coast, and thousands of comments were left on Internet sites dedicated to the slain eighth-grader’s memory.
Vigils again are planned Friday throughout the country, including in schools and communities in California, Virginia, Texas and Chicago.
Friday night’s event at CSU Channel Islands will begin at 6 p.m. in Aliso Hall and include a showing of the movie “For the Bible Tells Me So,” followed by a discussion and candlelight vigil.
“First and foremost, the purpose is to acknowledge a life lost brutally,” Balen said. She sees this as part of the healing process. “What we hope comes out of this... (is) people start looking at these issues with more open eyes and less judgment.”
Students from local Gay Straight Alliance groups have organized a ceremony in Los Angeles that they hope will keep King’s memory alive and help prevent violence in schools and communities.
“There needs to be more awareness that all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, need to be safe in schools,” said J.T. Mendoza, a high school senior in Simi Valley and member of the area’s GSA youth council. “It’s not just a LGBT issue, but an everyone issue.”
That ceremony and candlelight vigil will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at the south entrance to Los Angeles City Hall.
For more information about the vigils, go to http://www.rememberinglawrence.org .