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Interracial Coalition Protests at Churches
2006-07-01

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by Andrew Davis

Members of the Gay Liberation Network ( formerly the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network ) were among those in an interracial coalition protesting outside Sweet Holy Spirit Church, 8621 S. South Chicago, on June 4.

GLN's Andy Thayer told Windy City Times that his organization's members were present as a measure of solidarity. ' [ Church leader ] Bishop Larry Trotter is one of the more prominent preachers in the African-American community. In the past, he has spoken out against equal rights for LGBT individuals. Actually, Sankofa Way [ a non-profit, faith-based organization committed to providing interfaith spiritual care ] and Black LGBT & Allies For Equality initiated this [ event ] . We're just here to support them.'

Deborah Lake, director of Sankofa Way, declared in a statement that ' [ t ] he great irony of this misplaced alliance between some Black ministers and white conservatives is that it wasn't too long ago that many of these same white conservatives were using the Bible to justify racist practices against African Americans.'

Thayer said that GLN plans on protesting at various churches throughout Chicagoland; however, the only date confirmed so far is July 9 at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Des Plaines. He said that the planned demonstration is related to the violence that took place when people attempted to stage Moscow's first gay pride parade on May 27.

In a letter to Des Plaines' Archbishop Alypy of the Chicago and Detroit dioceses, who is officially deputy of the president of the Synod of Bishops, Thayer and others ( such as Sankofa Way Director Deborah Lake ) urged the official to'publicly condemn the violent actions of your co-religionists in Russia in no uncertain terms,' adding that ' [ w ] e will interpret your failure to do so as an endorsement of their actions.'

In addition, on June 11, the Black LGBT & Allies For Equality stood for civil rights and equality outside the Broadview Baptist church in Broadview, Ill. The group had to contend with threats of arrest from the Broadview Police Department, intimidation from the Broadview church leadership and a low turn-out of demonstrators, according to an e-mail from Sankofa Way. After the demonstration, Lake and GLN's Bob Schwartz debriefed demonstrators over lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Black LGBT Allies is sponsored by Sankofa Way Spiritual Services ( www.sankofaway.org ) . Among its supporters are ADODI, Gold Star Families for Peace, the Chicago Chapter of the Interfaith Alliance and GLN.


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