It was 10 years ago that the New Jersey Four’s night went from a fun evening out with friends to a fight for their lives.
Since then, they’ve sat through a grueling trial, served time in prison, appealed their sentences and are working to get back to normal life — but that night a decade ago is never far from their thoughts.
“People are still dying. My LGBT community is still at risk,” said Renata Hill, one of the New Jersey Four. “The world is still not accepting us … 10 years ago it was a group of 7 females who defended themselves and we were blessed to walk away from that situation alive. Ten years later, 49 people are gone and 50 are injured [in Orlando].”
In August 2006, a group of seven black, lesbian women planned a day in New York City to shop and bar hop. In their late teens to mid-20s, the New Jersey residents were excited about the fun to come. As they walked in the wee hours of the morning in front of a Greenwich Village movie theater, a man hawking DVDs called out to them.
Dwayne Buckle claims he told one of girls, Patreese Johnson, she was pretty and the group immediately attacked him. The women though tell a very different story.