Light Up The Night For Equality - NC Style

I'll be going on a local radio station (WCHL) later this week to have this commentary played.  I think it illustrates exactly why we need to have this event in North Carolina & events like it across the nation this weekend, and why unseen support is dangerously close to no support at all.

 

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This is Jake Goad.  I'm a Chapel Hill resident.  And I've got something to say.

In a high school English class, I was partnered up on a Canterbury Tales assignment with a friend and classmate who decided to confide in me two things: first, that he was glad that I was his group partner, and second, that I was welcome to join him and a few other guys who were planning on beating up and maybe stabbing the only openly gay guy at our school, if he showed up to prom with a date.  And I have to wonder if this semester-long friend of mine would have come up with such hateful plan, if he knew he was already friends with a gay guy?


During the recent campaign season, my car became littered with bumper stickers for the various causes and campaigns I was volunteering for, including a rainbow Obama pride sticker.  Earlier this week, when I was about to turn into the University Mall parking lot, a car horn blared at me multiple times, and when I turned, I made eye contact with the other driver, who was yelling homophobic derogatory slurs, and other words I dare not repeat on the radio.

It reminded me that, even in my home of Chapel Hill, there is no haven except that which we build through community and visibility.  I shouldn't have been silent in high school, & I hope to continue my fight through applying to UNC’s MPA program, because somewhere on the way into adulthood I realized that we all have a responsibility to create a society that values equality, and that unseen support is dangerously close to no support at all.

So I invite anyone who can make it to join us at Southpoint Mall this Saturday at 6pm for a Candlelight Vigil.  For additional details you can e-mail me at jakegoad@gmail.com.  Or search for the event on facebook.com.

 

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http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=66914101272

Total votes: 82

Comments

Also the national join the impact gay rights movement has been running a food drive now, and this night is the culmination of that, so bringing canned food is welcome as well.

Location:
After speaking to the management at Southpoint, its clear they wont
issue us a permit to gather on their private property, but we still
have a very visible location available at the "common property" of the
sidewalks at the main intersection. This area is ideal both in that it
puts us in front of the Southpoint Mall traffic by a stop light where
people have time to look, and traffic going to the other parts of the
shopping center area across the street such as Best Buy & other
popular holiday season shopping locations.

Check out this map for a better idea of where I'm talking about.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2245872&id=11813503&saved#/photo.php?pid=38200971&id=11813503

Materials:
Bring candles (we should have a few extras at the event for people who
don't have them), but if you want to bring your own candle whether its
plain, or rainbow colored, or white to go along with a marriage theme,
or something else unique, any candle is welcome, and if you have extra
candles to lend to your fellow supporters that is welcome as well. If
you have signs left over from the protest, or want to make your own,
they are welcome as well as long as they fit the tenor of the event.
There wont be loud chanting or sign waving, but we can prop them up
against us. If anyone has the 2nd class citizen t-shirts that Join The
Impact recommends those are welcome as well (or if you want to make
your own with a sharpie & t shirt), but considering the time of
year I think coats will be in order. So shirts, signs, candles, or any
other means of expressing yourself appropriately is welcome.

Timing/Activities:
We are gathering at 6pm & should be done by 7pm if not a little
before. This isn't about making a big splash the way the protests were,
this event is a solemn occasion in remembrance of the rights that were
lost on election night, and that have been denied to us for so long. I
know a lot of people have some last minute shopping to do, or holiday
parties to get off to, & we don't want to force anyone to break
their plans, so we'll keep it short. But we can't let the public forget
what was taken from us on election night just because a little time has
passed. And we must also not forget why we ourselves are there. There
will be an opportunity for anyone who wants to speak to be able to. We
will pass around one of the candles and let each person say why they
are in this fight. It can be as simple as "I'm here for my sister who
is treated as a 2nd class citizen", it can be a story of the injustices
you have seen, or you may simply pass the candle a long to the next
person if a somber silence is how you wish to share your support. This
event is also a part of the jointheimpact's food drive, so bringing
canned food is welcomed & encouraged.

Some people will see our signs & remember that we are still out
there even though time has passed since the protests. Some will only
notice a candle light vigil but then go home and maybe see a national
news story mentioning candle light vigils across the nation for equal
rights. But we will be seen, and we will all see that we are not in
this fight alone.

We didn't have a large turnout, but we kept this movement going, we collected plenty of canned food considering our numbers, & we were definitely seen by many, so I'd call the event a success. Group photo w/ most of us pictured & you can see our bin that we were using to collect the food, & you can see me holding the yellow candle that we passed around, & while holding it which each said why we were out there that night.  For some it was a lost chance at marriage, for some it was being treated like a second class citizen, and for some it was showing support for family members who had gone through really rough times.  Someone telling their story:  Lighting up:  Lit up:  Holding up our sign & candles:  (there was a wreck nearby at one point, so people really had a chance to slow down and see what we were out there for) A few others ventured on to mall territory afterwords & drew even more attention for our cause, but we all left determined to keep up the fight.  The next event is going to be in Raleigh on Jan 10th  (I'll post more details when it gets closer).  With more than a week going into the planning, & it being a protest rather than a vigil it should prove to have a sizable turnout, but either way we definitely kept the movement alive last night.

 

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