- On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village and the rioting and violence which ensued lasted for three days.
- On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was brutally attacked and tied to a fence in a field outside of Laramie, Wyoming and left to die. On October 12, Matt succumbed to his wounds in a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. Matt was gay.
- Some members of our congregation are taking steps – literally – right now as they participate in the YWCA’s Annual Race Against Hate. This race honors the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong, former Northwestern University Men’s Basketball Coach who was murdered by a white supremacist in 1999. It is a race that brings together thousands of people to run and walk in unity against racial hatred and violence. And it is a race that raises much needed funds to further the mission of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore particularly in their efforts in the areas of racial justice and violence prevention.
What else can we do?
- Many of us can donate blood. Gay and bi men and trans women are unscientifically yet legally prohibited from donating blood; but many of us can do so on their behalf. Lifesource locations around the Chicagoland area – including the one in Evanston – are sending blood to Orlando, Florida to help those injured last Sunday.
- We can speak out. Be vocal about our position of inclusion and affirmation – be vocal about our baptismal commitment to strive for justice and peace among all people and our promise to respect the dignity of every human being.
- We can reach out to our LGBTQI neighbors and to our Muslim neighbors and ask how they are doing. Let them know you support them and that you care.
- And finally, next Sunday, June 26, you can join the Diocese of Chicago and march in Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade. As event coordinator, Matthew Zaradich writes, “this is an amazing opportunity to deliver our message of hope in Christ, of complete love and acceptance in God, and of changing the world through the Holy Spirit. . . to show our Church on the affirming side of inclusive love.”