The Center on Halsted screened Fagbug, a film exploring homophobia and hate crimes, in the youth space March 13.
On the 11th annual National Day of Silence in upstate New York, Erin Davies discovered her Volkswagen Beetle had been spray-painted with the words "fag" on the driver's side window and "u r gay" on the hood.
Dismayed but not discouraged, Davies drove the cargraffiti intactto her university campus. After nearly 50 phone calls in one hour, public safety tracked down Davies and asked her to move her car, but she refused. Davies felt the complaints were spurred because people do not want to confront homophobia, especially when it is so public and unavoidable.
"I took that stance because homophobia is a problem and it's everyone's problem, not just the problem of LGBT people," said Davies.
She left the graffiti on her car for a year, deemed it the "fagbug" and drove it to every contiguous state in the United States. Along the way, Davies discovered other hate crimes and had people attempt to remove the graffiti. She filmed her journey and released a documentary, titled Fagbug, available via streaming on Netflix.
She later gave the car a makeover, repainting it as a rainbow with "fagbug" stenciled on each side.
"My car is now like the gayest thing in the universe," said Davies.
Through a collaboration with chef Shiane Wilcoxen, Monica Frazier, Center On Halsted, TEAM 101 CHICAGO and Q-Tea-Pie, youths were able to see the car in person and watch the film while Davies spoke on hate crimes and homophobia. Many of them called Davies brave for continuing to drive the vehicle.
"I probably would have done something like this if it were me, something to put in people's faces to show them what they did," said Jaleel LiJon Carter, the youth space intern.
"I think she's ballsy. I don't think I would have kept that on my car and drove to 48 states," said Janie Edwards, a recent recipient of the youth excellence award at the Center.
Others felt Davies' courage is indicative of the growing strength and pride of the LGBT community.
"This just makes it seem like we're getting stronger and stronger," said Darnell Thurmond, a member of Prodigies of Pride at the Center. "It doesn't matter what you call us, we're getting stronger."