Outword Talks with Mikey Partida
By Ken Pierce
Friends, co-workers and family members of Davis resident, Lawrence “Mikey” Partida, 32 all agree that Mikey is one of the sweetest and kindest persons you could ever meet. Today Partida is recovering from a brutal beating he suffered early Sunday, March 10 from the hands of his alleged attacker, Clayton Garzon, 19 of Davis.
The fact that before, during, and after the assault, gay slurs and hate speech were hurled at Partida led the Davis Police Department to investigate the incident as a hate crime. The crime has outraged the LGBT community, but support for Partida has spread far beyond the gay community.
Davis Food Co-op, a place Partida worked for some time, collected donations. A co-worker posted on a Facebook page set up as, “Mikey’s Justice Fund” that, “during my five hour shift customers were walking in with anywhere from $5 to $100 bills to add to the fund. These were people from all walks of life.”
A “Standing Together in Love and Light” candlelight vigil was held at Central Park in Davis recently for Partida. Shelly Bailes, a Davis resident reported that there were between 300 and 400 people at the vigil, mostly from the Davis area. Members of the city government were in attendance including Mayor Joe Krovoza.
Family members of the recovering Partida have asked the community to focus their attention on his well-being. The victim’s mother wrote on the Facebook page, “I have since learned that, in addition to a pre-existing history of violence, his attacker will have no trouble securing very good legal help. While I know it is difficult for him (Partida) to accept monetary assistance (he has worked since he was ten) we are asking for contributions to ensure that this tragic and senseless, animalistic act, is immediately redressed.”
She also wrote, “While the immediate challenges posed by the severity of his physical injuries are clear, the long-term impacts of PTSD are not. Consequently, we are in the process of seeking legal representation to secure every possible resource and support necessary to facilitate his recovery and healing.”
Nine days after the attack and one day after surgery to his right eye, I talked to Partida on the phone and he seemed in good spirits.
Mikey, there are a lot or people out there who are concerned about your health. How are you doing today?
Actually this is the best I felt since I was beat up. It’s been a little rough on me but as a runner I think I will recover alright.
Have the Doctors said anything about you receiving any permanent damage?
No they are still evaluating me but it doesn’t look like I will have permanent damage.
That’s good. You had a huge outpouring of support, not only from the LGBT community but from the Davis Food Co-op where you work and the Davis community as well. How do you feel about the support and attention you are getting so far?
It’s weird. I never thought what happened would get this big. It feels good and overwhelming at the same time. I am amazed how this came from a small town Davis community movement.
Knowing what happened to you has brought attention to many people that it can also happen to them.
I think people want to know that their neighborhood is safe, and I get that. We want to know that when we step outside our doors that we will be safe. What happened to me was done by a single person, not my entire neighborhood. Most everyone in my neighborhood is nice.
Have you been following what happened in Midtown Sacramento with the hate crime victim who was hit with a bat and the guy who was beat to death, all in the same week?
Yes my cousin was telling me about them. It’s really sad. What happened to me changed the way I think about what I should be doing when I go out. From now own I will be aware of what is going on around me and I may not go out alone, especially in the late night or early morning. I certainly would stress to young people to be aware and vigilant of their surroundings.
Has what happened to you changed your mind about the safety of your neighborhood or Davis in general?
No it hasn’t. I haven’t been outside of this hospital since I was hurt and I know it might be difficult for a while but I am not going to let what happened to me keep me from going out on my day’s off from Davis Food Co-op. I will be much more careful and vigilant when I do go out though.
You told me you and your family moved here when you were in second grade. Were you ever bullied in school?
Actually no. While I don’t go around telling everyone that I am gay, I also never tried to hide that fact. I am sure some people figured it out but no one ever bothered me or bullied me about how I acted. Before I was beat up I never experienced any type of aggression towards me. I never even have been in a fight before. I really feel comfortable being who I am in my neighborhood, at work, anywhere here in Davis. My favorite bar I go to often is actually a straight bar called G Street WunderBar. I am treated like anyone else. Davis is a great town.
Are you looking forward to being fully recovered and back to some kind of normalcy?
Yes I am, though I know some things will be different. Like I said this experience had made me more aware that even in the safest neighborhoods you have to be vigilant when you are walking around, especially at night. I also want to do what I can to talk to our youth about staying safe when they go out. I don’t want what happened to me happen to anyone else.
To learn how you can help Partida in his recovery, visit the Facebook page set up for him at www.facebook.com/pages/Mikeys-Justice-Fund/102120376646611?ref=ts&fref=ts
Ken Pierce is a community activist and freelance writer in Sacramento. he can be reached at