Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stand Against Hate and For Justice & Equality -- Tupelo or Bust!


GIVE HATE A HOLIDAY
Take A Stand For Justice & Equality for LGBT People
Tupelo, Mississippi
(Home of the American Family Association)
October 10, 2011


12 Noon
Main Street - Tupelo Link Centre
Colorful Demonstration of Support for LGBT Equality
(Banners, Posters, Chants & Creative Public Witness Welcome!)

2:00 PM
Link Centre Concert Hall
Free Public Screening of "Out In The Silence"
Followed by Town Hall Sharing / Take Action Public Forum
"Out In The Silence" is an acclaimed, hopeful and inspiring film that has become a dynamic grassroots campaign about love, hate and the quest for justice & equality in heartland America.


4:00 PM
Link Centre Reception Hall
Information and networking fair with representatives of local, state, and national groups and organizations to learn about the work and how to get involved and take action.

(If you or your organization would like to set-up an information table, please contact Melanie Deas at: mdeas@link-centre.org)

Co-sponsors of the Give Hate a Holiday event include: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tupelo -- Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oxford -- All Saints' Episcopal Church of Tupelo -- PFLAG Tupelo -- PFLAG Oxford/North Mississippi -- Gulf Region PFLAG -- University of Mississippi Gay-Straight Alliance -- OUTlaw at The University of Mississippi -- Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights -- Unitarian Universalist Mid South District -- Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations "Standing on the Side of Love" Campaign -- Americans United for Separation of Church and State -- Tennessee Equality Project -- Georgia Equality -- Equality Federation -- Out Now Youth (Springfield, MA) -- GetEQUAL -- and YOU! (To put your group's name on the co-sponsor list, contact Joe Wilson at: QwavesJoe@yahoo.com)

PLEASE JOIN US to TAKE A STAND AGAINST HATE / FOR JUSTICE & EQUALITY for ALL!


For more information see: Give Hate A Holiday - Tupelo or Bust!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hope Over Hate in Northwestern Pennsylvania

Award-winning Gay Rights Documentary
to Screen in Boonies International Film Festival

OUT IN THE SILENCE, an acclaimed documentary that looks at an issue of urgent local and national concern -- fairness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people -- will be featured in the inaugural Boonies International Film Festival in Warren, PA.

The free screenings are scheduled for Thursday, August 18 at 7:00pm at the Struthers Library Theater and Friday, August 19 at 12:30pm at the Warren Public Library. Filmmaker Joe Wilson, a native of nearby Oil City, and LGBT and Ally residents and natives of Warren, will be on-hand for a post-screening conversation with the audience.

The Warren screenings hold special significance because northwestern Pennsylvania is not only the setting for the stories in OUT IN THE SILENCE, it is home base for the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, the state affiliate of the American Family Association, a national 'traditional values' organization that was recently designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for the “thoroughly discredited falsehoods and demonizing propaganda it pumps out about homosexuality and other sexual minorities.



(The American Family Association of Pennsylvania features prominently in the film as a result of the role it plays in promoting vicious anti-LGBT bigotry in the area and throughout the state.)

OUT IN THE SILENCE captures the remarkable chain of events that unfold when a same-sex wedding announcement and the brutal bullying of a gay teen ignite a ļ¬restorm of controversy and a quest for change in a small Pennsylvania town (Oil City). Tough and wrenching, inspiring and entertaining, this Emmy Award-winning film is challenging audiences across the country, and around the world, to rethink their values and consider how they can help close the gaps that have divided families, friends, churches, and communities on these issues for far too long.

The film was produced in association with the Sundance Institute and Penn State Public Broadcasting, premiered at the 2010 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York, and won an Emmy Award for Achievement in Documentary.

“The characters in the film are just ordinary people – a kid and his mom, two women who start a business, an Evangelical preacher and his wife – but their stories get at the heart of how anti-LGBT stigma and repression continue to harm individuals and divide communities,” said filmmaker Wilson. “That's why we're using it as a tool for education and activism, especially in small towns and rural communities, like Warren, where there often isn't any visible or organized gay presence at all.”

At the heart of the campaign is a dedication to the idea that small acts of LGBT visibility in places where they are rare, and sometimes unwelcome, help to raise awareness and open-up dialogue in profound new ways and create ripple effects and opportunities to organize for change that go far and wide.

Some of the campaign's events have been targeted by opponents for protests and threats. See “Potter County Library Faced Threats Over Gay Documentary” (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

And this:



More often, however, “they have become forums, a place to meet where there has been no place, to talk where there is a desire to talk but little occasion,” wrote JoAnn Wypijewski in The Nation.

The screenings in Warren are especially timely in light of the recent passage of the Marriage Equality Act in nearby New York, a major milestone in the state's journey toward justice and full inclusion for its LGBT residents, while Pennsylvania, still without any protections for LGBT people in employment, housing or public accommodations and without comprehensive anti-bullying policies to protect youth, gears-up for another divisive battle around an ANTI-marriage equality constitutional amendment being re-introduced this year.

Filmmaker Wilson hopes that federal Congressmen Mike Kelly and Glenn Thompson, State Senators Mary Jo White and Joseph Scarnati, State Representative Kathy Rapp, and other local elected representatives, civic, community and religious leaders will attend the Warren event to express their support for inclusion, fairness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all people, particularly youth, who call the region home.

He is also hoping that residents from neighboring communities in New York attend in solidarity and to share their more enlightened perspectives on the issues.

For more information about the film, please visit: OutintheSilence.com

New National Award for Youth Activism!

The OUT IN THE SILENCE Campaign, in partnership with GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), is thrilled to announce a new national Award for Youth Activism to highlight and honor the courageous young people who are on the front lines in the most important civil and human rights struggle of our time: achieving dignity, respect, inclusion, fairness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.


The award was conceived in response to the tragic epidemic of teen suicides that captured the nation's attention last year and the renewed, and troubling, efforts of anti-LGBT voices to stir the bigotry, hatred and fear that puts youth at-risk and has divided families, friends, schools, and communities on these issues for far too long.

A $1,500 Grand Prize, $750 Impact Prize, and $500 New Group Prize, will be awarded to the student, youth, and ally groups that most effectively raise LGBT visibility, call attention to bullying and harassment, and promote safe schools, inclusion, fairness and equality for all by holding an OUT IN THE SILENCE film screening & speak out event in their school or community during the month of October -- which marks LGBT History Month, Ally Week and National Coming Out Day.

Entering the award competition is easy. To be eligible to win, and to receive a FREE DVD and Event Planning Toolkit, check out all the details and register by Sept. 26 HERE!

Award Winners will be announced in The Huffington Post on December 10
-- International Human Rights Day!

About the Film and Campaign: Based on the true story of a courageous teen who stands up to bullying and harassment in his small town high school after a brutal gay-bashing, OUT IN THE SILENCE provides a hopeful and inspiring call to speak out and take action against all forms of bigotry and discrimination. Since its June 2010 premier in the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York, and subsequent broadcast on PBS stations across the country, the film has become the center of a dynamic grassroots campaign aimed at raising LGBT visibility and promoting dialogue and civic engagement, particularly in small towns and rural communities where there often is no visible or organized LGBT presence at all.

Screenings of this Emmy Award-winning film are a great way to spark new thinking, capture the attention of leading local decision makers, and recruit new allies to the movement for equality.

YOU CAN HELP by spreading the word
to student and youth service groups in your area.


Take Action - Silence Is Meant To Be Broken!





GLSEN offers many resources and support for schools to implement effective and age-appropriate anti-bullying programs to improve school climate for all students. Check it all out at: GLSEN Anti-Bullying Resources

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Support LGBT Youth & Protect California's FAIR Education Act!

You can help fight bullying and harassment of LGBT youth across California by spreading the word about a new national Award for Youth Activism!


The OUT IN THE SILENCE Award, with a $1,500 Grand Prize, a $750 Impact Prize, and a $500 New Group Prize, will go to the student and youth groups that most effectively raise LGBT visibility, call attention to bullying & harassment, and promote fairness & equality for all by holding an OUT IN THE SILENCE event in their school or community during the month of October -- known as LGBT History Month and for National Coming Out Day.

To be eligible to win one of the awards, and to receive a FREE DVD and Event Planning Toolkit, interested groups simply need to register their event HERE.

These events will be a powerful way to help protect California's new FAIR Education Act.


Signed into law by Gov. Brown just last month to ensure that all students receive an accurate account of the historical contributions that LGBT people, and other underrepresented groups, have made to the economic, social and political developments of the state and the nation, anti-equality forces are already mobilizing to erase the FAIR Education Act from the history books.

They have been given until mid-October to collect 500,000 signatures to qualify a referendum, that would overturn the law, for the June 2012 ballot.

This attack isn't just an attempt to censor the contributions of LGBT people, it's also an attempt to revive the lies and bigotry that put LGBT youth at-risk of bullying, harassment, violence, and worse.

Your help in spreading the word about the OUT IN THE SILENCE Award for Youth Activism is a great way to help communities organize against this bigoted assault!

Award Winners will be announced in The Huffington Post on December 10
-- International Human Rights Day!

Based on the true story of a courageous teen who stands up to bullying and harassment in his small town high school after a brutal gay-bashing, OUT IN THE SILENCE provides an inspiring call to speak out and take action against all forms of bigotry and discrimination. Screenings of this Emmy Award-winning film are a great way to spark open dialogue, capture the attention of leading local decision makers, and recruit new allies to the movement for equality.

For all the details:
OutintheSilence.com