Thursday, May 6, 2010
Protesting & Perfect Signs (God Loves Glitter) - Standing on the Side of Love in Atlanta
Piedmont park was covered with something besides pollen today. Youths, parents, and activists marched, sang, and supported the gay and Jewish community with signs saying "God loves Glitter" and "Peace, Love, and Tolerance." Of course, we had our Standing on the Side of Love signs! Fellow seminary students carried signs saying "God is love!"
This afternoon a lot of teens from Grady High School in Atlanta and community activists converged into a wonderful counter-witness to the hate-filled messages of Westboro Baptist Church. The church members had horrible signs, "God Hates Jews", "Fags Hate God", and other horrible language. A youth from Grady High School found out that Westboro would be protesting at their school so she helped to organize a counter-protest. Over 800 people responded on Facebook and there were hundreds that came.
We took this moment to bring our Standing on the Side of Love signs and join other faith groups, local teens, and activist in a peaceful witness to love. I really enjoyed meeting some of the parents of the high schoolers that spoke supportively of teen efforts to organize and get their message out. One parent said, "How can I not support my daughter, when she is supporting two friends that came out in high school." This may have been the first protest for many of these teens and they conducted themselves with good spirit and peaceful enthusiasm despite the hateful message they were protesting.
It was a great day to see the power of all ages and types of people coming together in spite of hate. It was a testament to the power of people gathered in the name of love. Even the police doing crowd control couldn't help smiling a little.