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Zapata Vigil Expected to Be Filled With Grief, Unity

August 8, 2008

Greeley, CO - Angie Zapata was only 18 when she was brutally murdered last month in northern Colorado. A vigil Saturday evening in Greeley will celebrate the life and mourn the violent death of the young transgender woman.

Mindy Barton, legal director for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Colorado, says the event will be a chance to grieve and to talk about ways to prevent hate crimes in Colorado.

"We hope to form a unifying front to work together in fighting against such intolerance in our future."

Colorado amended its hate crime law in 2005 to include bias-motivated crimes against transgender people, and Barton says the decision to charge the suspect with a hate crime in this case sends the message the law will be fully enforced.

"Any discrimination or violence based on race, sex, or gender identity will not be tolerated any longer."

The key to preventing such horrible crimes is more education, added Barton.

"We want to build a better awareness in the state that these types of things do still occur and that we need to continue fighting to make sure that they don't."

Zapata is said to have met the suspect, Allen Ray Andrade, online. Police say the two were on a date when Andrade attacked Zapata with a fire extinguisher after discovering she was a transgender woman. Andrade has been charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime.

The vigil, at the University of Northern Colorado's Garden Theater in Greeley, will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Eric Mack/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - CO