Friday, April 16, 2010

Boulder Pride Organizes Community Food Drive in Response to Potential Protest by Westboro Baptist Church

Boulder Pride, Boulder County's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning Community Center, has learned that a controversial group, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), is scheduled to come to Boulder and the Denver-Metro area to hold small protests next week. WBC plans to picket schools, religious institutions, and community organizations. Their protest schedule includes several locations in Boulder on Thursday, April 22.

From a statement by the Anti-Defamation League: "Typically WBC sends a small group (less than ten) of its members with offensive, brightly-colored signs to stand on street corners and in front of targeted institutions. The group's members may chant or scream bigoted phrases. WBC's primary goal is to attract attention, especially from the media. While this group and its hateful messages certainly have a "loud bark," we advise communities not to engage directly with them via counter-protests."

To create a positive way for the community to respond to WBC, Boulder Pride will be collecting food at the Boulder Pride House (2132 14th St in Boulder, between Pine and Spruce) on Thursday April 22 from 7am to 7pm.

As Boulder Pride Board President Dave Ensign shared, "Rather than focusing our collective energy against WBC, this Food Drive offers LGBTQ people and our strong Allies in Boulder County an action-based, community-focused response. We hope our community will respond by donating lots of food!"

Aicila Lewis, Boulder Pride Executive Director, commented, "I read a Mother Teresa quote: 'I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.' This Food Drive is in the spirit of being for something positive rather than putting our energy against Westboro."

"We are incredibly strong and resilient community who, despite negative social messages and institutionalized discrimination, not only 'come out' and survive - but thrive and contribute in significant, positive ways to make Boulder County a better place to live," observed Cathy Busha, Boulder Pride Program Director. "This Food Drive represents Boulder Pride's efforts to build a strong community for everyone in Boulder County."

All items collected will be donated to Community Food Share, Boulder and Broomfield Counties' Food Bank. Please drop off all non-perishable, unopened food items at the Boulder Pride House on Thursday, April 22 between 7am and 7pm. All items are welcomed - the items most needed by Community Food Share include canned fruit, fruit juice, cereal (hot and cold), tuna, peanut butter and pasta sauce. Please no home canned products or unsealed bulk products. In addition to food items, you can also donate diapers, shampoo, laundry detergent, toothpaste and toothbrushes. You can also drop off food at Naropa Pride Alliance (Student Affairs Building, 2130 Arapahoe) from 9am to 5pm on Thursday, April 22nd.

We are also seeking volunteers to help staff the Boulder Pride House on April 22, as well as individuals to drop off baked goods and snacks to feed volunteers and community members who drop off items on April 22.

We will also be collecting donations at Boulder Pride's monthly Happy Hour at Hapa Sushi (1117 Pearl Street) from 5-7pm on Wednesday, April 21st. Please bring your items with you and join us!

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Cathy Busha at or 303-499-5777.

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