Fairbanks fundraiser for gay cabbie injured in assault

Early on the morning of Thursday, January 13, Johnmichael, a driver for Eagle Cabs in Fairbanks, was beaten in the face with the claw side of a hammer. His assailant, Robert Charles Evans, is in jail charged with first degree assault and first degree robbery. Both charges are class A felonies in Alaska, and could garner Evans a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

A news account of the events surrounding the attack appeared in the following day's newspaper:
From circumstance recounted there, it does not appear that the attack on Johnmichael was motivated by antigay sentiment, but by robbery. Regardless of motivation, as a result of the attack, Johnmichael cannot work and is faced with unexpected medical expenses, including a surgery scheduled for February 1 -- not to mention ongoing living expenses normally covered by his income as a taxi driver.

Johnmichael's fellow cabbies have been putting together donations to help Johnmichael in his time of need. The Fairbanks and Alaska LGBT & allied community is also stepping forward, with a benefit to be held Saturday in Fairbanks:
  • Day/time: Saturday, January 29, 2011, 7:00 PM until the wee hours
  • Location: Last Roundup Steak House (upstairs lounge), 2701 S. Cushman, Fairbanks (see map)
  • Info: Suggested donation $10 -- more if you can! We are planning a night of Karaoke, eating, and drinking. It will be a fun way to raise money for someone in our community who needs our help. Any amount you can donate small/large will be greatly appreciated.
If you're not in Fairbanks or otherwise can't attend, send any amount to:
Johnmichael care of Eagle Cab
555 Front St.
Fairbanks, AK 99701
You can also call Bill Northup (the manager of Eagle Cab ) at (907) 456-8536 and put an amount on a credit card care of Johnmichael. The cab company will then give him the cash.

Johnmichael has written to Bent Alaska and to other supporters expressing his heartfelt gratitude for donations and other help he's already received. He says he plans to attend the benefit, and intends to speak there about the need to start an emergency relief fund for the GLBT people caught in similar emergencies. "I'm feeling ok," he writes, "Just have a pounding headache. As you can imagine. My need comes in because I can not go back to work without a doctors release & I have a surgery scheduled for the 1st of Feb." He intends to return to work as soon as he's recovered.

We wish you a speedy recovery, Johnmichael.

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