JWG (jwg) wrote,

Phelps / Westboro Baptist Church visit Cambridge

This morning was the big event where Fred Phelps people from the Westboro Baptist Church came to picket Project 10 East, the GSA at CRLS (Cambridge High School).

As one of the co-chairs of the Cambridge GLBT Commission I've been involved in the planning for the response to this - going to a meeting at the High School with students and the administration, working to get the school administration and the Mayor's office to take this more seriously and positively, several meetings with local activists, speaking at this week's City Council meeting, our own Commission meeting, a sign-making event last night and lots of email. It's given the Commission some more visibility and helped us all work together as well.

Our planning for the response was quite successful. There were about 7 Phelps people there and as many as 500-700 counter-protesters. It was school lunchtime for half the school and many of the kids came out and joined us. The Phelps people looked pretty ridiculous. It was very peaceful; there were many policemen there (many in cool Tactical Police Force uniforms with boots, some kind of riot weapons, and plastic handcuffs); and they had barriers between the street and the sidewalk where we were and surrounding the Phelps people to make sure there were no confrontations. One of the students is making a documentary of the whole process in the school.

Chris Mason, one of the Commissioners, organized a Phelps-a-thon to raise money and about $4,000 was raised. The money raised will go to Project 10 East and Welcoming Families, the GLBT family liaison organization in the school system. Chris is going on a visit 48 states driving tour this summer to talk to people about GLBTQ equality issues.

Some of the crowd in front of the school and across the street

Tags: cambridge

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