March 2, 2012. BOONE — The High Country Press is at the ‘Stop the Hate, Show the Love’ benefit show for Erin Johnston and Sarabeth Nordstrom. We will be updating the content of this story throughout the event. Follow us for notes, pictures and video clips. For the preview of the event and background on the assault itself, see our previous article on it.
6:25 p.m. — People are filing into Grandfather Ballroom in the Plemmons Student Union quickly. It is expected to be standing room only. Ian Lorhman is currently opening the show playing acoustic guitar.
6:35 — Carly Taich currently performing acoustic guitar. The ballroom is getting packed.
6:40 — Chancellor Peacock is in attendance tonight.
6:42 — Opening remarks by Sara Beeker
6:47 — J.J. Brown, ASU Dean of Students: “It’s unfortunate that we even have to be here.” Speaking about the effect of the events on the student body and the community, and how we need to continue to work to make sure there is no hate within the High Country.
6:51 — Mollie Strawn, emcee, introducing a cappella group Lost in Sound.
6:55 — A cappella group Lost in Sound performing their set. Video coming soon…
7:09 — Erin Johnston and Sarabeth Nordstrom take the stage to a standing ovation. As per their request, no photos or video will be taken during their portion of the event.
Nordstrom describes their attacker as “started out being really nice.” They realized he was following him about halfway to Brown Heights Apartments. Upon exiting the car they never expected he would actually attack them. Johnston was attacked first. Nordstrom was trying to get away to call police when their attacker rushed up on her from behind and attacked her.
Johnston: “I’m at risk for as many as five surguries and I have a fifty-fifty chance regarding all of them.” She has to wait six months regarding all the surgeries combined.
Nordstrom: “I have one surgeries and have to wait five weeks to find everything out.” … “We’re constantly uneasy now. When we both go to restaurants we have to know where the exits are now.” … “I don’t really sleep much anymore. We both get night terrors now.” … “All of you are the reason we are getting through this.”
Johnston: “The Southern Campaign for Equality has helped us out a lot … The Women’s Center has helped out so much.” … “We haven’t felt alone.”
Nordstrom: “What we really want to say is that we’re here for the awareness. We’re not here for Sarabeth and I. We’re here for the bigger picture.”
Addressing that their attacker could face a minimum of 120 days for the attack and that he has previous convictions on his record.
Johnston and Nordstrom make closing remarks and thank everyone again.
7:24 — Cici Kromah performing “We Found Love” by Rhianna, one of Johnston and Nordstrom’s favorite songs.
7:28 — Sean Kosofsky, representative of Equality NC, takes the podium to discuss hate crimes and the “horrible marriage amendment.” … “Hate crimes are different for many reasons: 1. They tend to be excessively brutal. 2. They are not about personal gain, it is about victimizing the victim. 3. Hate crimes are exceptionally insidious. The effect entire communities.” … “As a young gay man, I have not lived in a world where I can walk around and be safe. It doesn’t matter whether you are in San Francisco or Boone, your life could be taken at any minute.” … Discussing the marriage amendment: “They are hoping college students are not going to vote. They’re hoping you’re going to forget to register or something.”
7:35 — Lost in Sound joins the stage again for a second set.
7:41 — Catie Beaulieu, Women’s Center volunteer, takes the stage. Talks about how remarkable it is how fast everyone came together to organize this event for the victims.
7:45 — Tim Roberts, of the band called Trouble, letting people know his band’s upcoming show will give part of the proceeds to the victims. Band plays tomorrow night at 8 p.m. at Harvest House.
7:47 — Johnston and Nordstrom retake the stage for closing statements. Talking about how much the Campaign for Southern Equality has meant to them and how much that organization has helped them. Thanking everyone who has helped them and everyone who has coordinated this event. “You guys have made a change in our life for sure, now let’s go make a change in the world!”
7:53 — Closing musical act by Ryan McKusick.
Video by Ken Ketchie.
Photos by Paul T. Choate.
Page Last Updated: 10:48 p.m.