Gunn High School Sings Away Hate Group

When the Kansas hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps' family) announced they would picket Bay Area schools and Jewish institutions, students at Gunn High School decided they could not sit quietly. (3 min 34 sec) 

Check out our Local Lesson, Helping High Schoolers Take the Lead, which features an interview with Gunn High School Principal Noreen Likins.


Comments

 So lovely to hear about this wonderful witness by the Gunn HIgh young people.  In case you haven't heard about, wanted to pass along information about some earlier kindred spirits of yours -- the Estonisan "Singing Revolution":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVYqFPq88VU

The term was coined by an Estonian activist and artist, Heinz Valk, in an article published a week after the June 10-11 1988 spontaneous mass night-singing demonstrations at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.  The movement lasted 1987-1991, and achieved a largely bloodless revolution when the Soviets withdrew from Estonia.

Here's the site for the documentary film itself about this transformational movement:

http://www.singingrevolution.com/cgi-local/content.cgi

Jo Lee Loveland Link, Middletown VA

I am in So. Cal. and so proud of your school!  This group is full of hate and evil, your peaceful demonstration is truly inspiring for us all.  Keep it up! 

As an American, a mother of four children, a close friend and family member of gays, and as a human being, I am in total awe of what you did. Your spirited and peaceful demonstration will have lingering effects on many. Too bad the folks at WBC can't take a page from your book-it's sick and sad to be so angry, hurtful and hateful when there are such beautiful, happy and loving people in the world! 

WTG!!!

 

Thank you Gunn High School.  You face hate with community support and togetherness.  You raise human consiousness and further hope for the future and the now.

 

David Allen Jones

Van Nuys, CA

Way to go students, staff and neighborhood community of Gunn High School.  It brouht me to tears.  I am in the state of Washington, but originated from Ohio.  I was recently contacted by a high school friend who now has a son in the same high school we went to many years ago.  Her son has been the victim of inappropriate comments and gestures from a teacher.  They have had several meetings with school staff and are getting nowhere.  My first reaction was to tell my friend to get out of that dang, small midwest town, like I did but then realized that she, along with her son, should stay and fight.  I was discouraged after she went in for ANOTHER meeting and got no results and the actions and words still continue.  I wish her son was in a school like Gunn High School. And if I was not unemployed now(limited cash flow), I would be on a plane back there to pickit the school and help make things happen!

 I just watched your video and I want to thank you! It was as inspiring to watch as I am sure it was to make. Keep up the good work and good thoughts. They lift us all.

Saw your video on you tube and I couldn't not respond.  I am a 56 year old woman, born in Berkeley, CA, lived there during the 60's and have dispaired over the generations that have come behind me that are apathetic and/or violent.

You all reminded me of...me!...way back when - in peace marches, non-violence, Gandhi, MLK, Jr., all stuff I believe in whole heartedly.  You all gave me hope for the future.  You all were so cute, singing the songs.....

The students and teachers and everyone there ROCK!

Much <3 to you all - Yvonne R., Salem, Oregon

This video totally had me tearing up.  I'm so proud to be a lesbian in the Bay area.  It's really nice to see how far we've come, and what a great group of students! 

 I was there, and like always I'm really proud of being a Gunn student. Mrs. Likins, we're going to miss you, thank you for being a wonderful principal. 

I saw this video on another website and it made me very proud of you students, staff and parents for standing up and being heard. You message was clear and beautifully delivered - that community comes from loving and respecting one another, even when we disagree (or especially so). Not in our town, indeed. Thank you again.

Best wishes from Sydney Australia 

 Good for you !!! It is that kind of unity that helps bring down the hate that surrounds... I couldn't imagine having that kind of support when i was in High School. I know there is a long way to go yet, but seeing people as people and understanding we all have different values and that who we are and what believe should not limit us, is a great step in the right direction. And shame on those people that have no real understanding of anything Christ-like...

The world truly is becoming a better place, and you are helping that to happen.  Thank you.

Steve

The hope, spirit and pride of America is safe in your hands.  I look forward to the future knowing students like you and the spirit you all embodied in this video represent a future the whole country can feel safe and comfortable about.  Thank you for giving this whole country hope. 

Youi guys are just awesome.  Y'all broguht tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat...and for an old gay man of 73 who has just about seen it all, that's quite an accomplishment.  I am so proud of young people like you...and of the wonderful teachers and principal who support and encourage the love that you are showing.  You are the wave of the future.  Thank you all for being,   from the bottom of my heart.

Saw the video, proud of all of you staff, administration, but mostly students. I admire not only your courage but your compassion and ability to counter hate (WBC) with acceptance and love.

Great video - and more importantly, great protest!!....as a gay Dad of 3 kids in the Palo Alto School District, it warms my heart to know my kids are part of a powerful, accepting alliance...an alliance that allows them to just get on with their lives, free of h8 :-)

good for you.  You're brave and you're beautiful.

Way to go! You guys did a fabulous job!

 To the Students, Teachers, Administrators and Parents of Gunn High School:

The amazing response to a message of intolerance in Palo Alto  was led by young people who were surrounded by support from their families, school and community.  At a time  when hate is dividing out country, thank you for presenting  this beacon of light. Your actions are inspiring people around the country. This video has been posted for less than 48 hours and it has been viewed over 33,000 times. From Florida to Pennsylvania and West Virginia, people who are facing the signs of hate  from the Westboro- Fred Phelps group say they were bolstered by your positive action. 

Thank you students, staff, administration for actively "walking the talk" and showing your community that there is a future of hope, love, tolerance, and acceptance.

Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii.   

There is no darkness, just absence of light. Gunn students are fantastically illuminated and deserve immense praise. The purpose of  " it all " is  the expansion of happiness.

 Gunn knows this. Just continue walking in the light and notice praise as it flares up around you.

There is no darkness, just absence of light. Gunn students are fantastically illuminated and deserve immense praise. The purpose of  " it all " is  the expansion of happiness.

 Gunn knows this. Just continue walking in the light and notice praise as it flares up around you.

Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear that your thank-you comment didn't get posted to the site. It sounds like there may have been a glitch in the comments approval process. I looked for your comment but couldn't find it in the queue. Thanks for letting us know about this; would you consider re-posting it? I'll be sure to look for it in the queue.

We use a comment approval process to prevent comment spam from showing up on the site, and to prevent hate speech or personal attacks from being posted on our website -- neither of which were an issue with your comment. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, and I do hope you'll consider reposting your thank-you comment!

Best,

Erika from NIOT

Dear Erika,

Thank you for your very kind response.  I just wanted to say how very moved I was (to the point of tears, actually), by this very heartwarming video depicting the students and staff of Gunn High School countering the messages of intolerence and hatred that the misguided Westboro Church takes such keen delight in displaying at every available opportunity. 

These days, one hears so many horrible incidences of school bullying, gay-bashings, student suicides and even reports of murder being commited in a number of our schools across the country that are prompted and encouraged by the messages of bigotry and hatred that seem to abound in so many areas of America. No matter what the excuse or the source of such antagonism and abuse, these outbursts of contempt for minority groups is never justified.  It is most encouraging to know, that there exists, wonderful young people like those at Gunn High School who reject such unfounded notions of superiority, intolerence and just plain old mean-spiritiedness.

Thank you, one and all for being and  for the showing of your support  Those of us who are the targets of intolerence and hatred can take heart in knowing that there are those like yourselves with true love in their hearts and that makes the struggle for full equality for all American citizens so easier to bear.

 This video brought tears to my eyes.  The kids, their parents and the staff of the school all deserve congratulations for their measured, powerful response to naked hatred.  Thank you for bringing a little peace into an angry world!

I am a sophomore at Gunn and I would like to thank you, thank you for noticing our peaceful counter-protest in response to the wbc, thank you for supporting us in spirit in this hard time, thank you for letting up help you appreciate the power of love in the face of adversity.  Please remember "Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind."-Ghandi

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Thank you Gunn students - this was a fabulous response to a hurtful and dangerous "church." 

With all the hate I've been seeing on TV lately, you guys give me hope that things will be OK.  Thank you.

Stumbled upon your video and felt that I had to comment.  The WBC's reputation is well known even here, but luckily their wholesale message of hate isn't accepted.  What a fantastic thing you all did. 

Watching this video was like getting a glimpse of the future.  Lead on!!

Unfortunately this hate group has made its way around the country but your loving response is by far the best.  As someone who lives in a very conservative southern town, I am so proud of a group of young people and their teachers and administration who stands for love in the face of this kind of blatant hate.  Silence is consent.  Singing away hate is a far better answer.

 I'm an out and proud 52 year old gay guy in Virginia, and I want to say, "Thanks!" to all of you at Gunn.  You all bear a tremendous witness.  Your video made me smile, cry, laugh, and smile again.  Your video has been linked and posted on any number of sites.  I've seen it all over the web, and every time I run across another post, I play it again.

Your actions, your songs, your coming together bear a mighty witness to the future.  My partner and I have been together 17 years, and we've seen so much positive change for gay people these past few years, more than we could imagine when we were both closeted and alone and struggling when we were your age.  We're not where we need to be yet as a nation and as a society, but we are making much progress, and you and your generation give us hope.  

This post isn't very articulate but, again, I think you all from the bottom of my heart.

Chip in Virginia

This is SO COOL!  I wish my children would have had the opportunity to attend a school that truly acted aganist Hate.  Thank you! :)

You are an inspiration here in Delaware. Thank you for your leadership!

As if the video didn't already tell the story beautifully enough, reading a couple of pages of public responses to the actions of the students, teachers and administrators of Gunn HS was more than enough for me, too, to feel a renewed sense of hope for the future.  Acceptance, indeed!  I cannot think of anything else to add.  Peace.  And thank you.

 I work very hard to instill these beautiful character traits in young kids as an elementary school counselor. You are all beautiful and appreciated. If I had support like you all when I was in high school I would have come out long before I did. Keep it up ya'll 

Andrea-Texas

I am a Family Physician in Washington state and I practice love and acceptance of a diverse community everyday.   Your beautiful story helps me worry a little less about my childrens'  future and gives me hope that although I have raised them to love and accept and stand up for what is right, they will not be alone.

I just watched the video and it completely brightened my day.  Not only did you send a message to the hate group, you sent a message to the world!

It's amazing how everyone got together and worked together to make this happen.  Great job teachers, school administrators, community members & students.  This should serve as an example to all how peaceful & loving people can come together in the face of adversity.

My only thought is......WE NEED MORE LOVE ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Thanks for setting an absolutely amazing example!  

I'm a pre-service school teacher in Melbourne (Australia) and this video brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

Thank you, all of you, for doing this. What a great message you sent to these hate groups. Respond with love!

The students and teachers of Gunn High School deserve a HUGE round of applause and thanks for taking a stand against the hate mongering WBC's.   YOU ARE FANTASTIC!   THANK YOU!

K. Toth

 Hi my name is Monisha I like this video it's very inspirational. i am apart of Bay Area Video Coalition we loved your video. Yay ! for diversity !

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