By Liz Welch, Fair is Fair MontanaHate is not a Montana value. Montana families are open and inclusive. Bozeman churches do not want to be associated with hate and negativity. Why then did the Westboro Baptist Church chose Bozeman to show their unique and highly offensive brand of free speech and anti-gay sentiment?
Hundreds Gather in Bozeman, MT to Protest Hate A broad coalition of religious denominations, veteran organizations, Montana State University student groups, and members of Bozeman’s LGBTQ community rallied to send the message to a Kansas-based hate group that their message of hate is not only unwelcome, but outnumbered. An estimated attendance of 800 people was reported by organizer Jamie Greer of Greater Gallatin Valley for Equality. The majority of people congregated at an ACLU-sponsored Rally For Inclusion, removed from the protest site. The remainder gathered at Bozeman High School, where the three members of the Westboro Baptist Church hate group were picketing. This is not the first time Bozeman has rallied against hate. According to Beth Shalom Rabbi Ed Stafman, a group of Neo-Nazis organized a rally in Bozeman five years ago, and were met with approximately 1,000 protesters.
From Oak Creek Patch: About 100 people attended a candlelight vigil Sunday night at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin for victims of the Newtown school shootings. Credit: Mark Schaaf Oak Creek Stands for NewtownMass shootings are happening all too often across the country, and no one knows this better than the residents of those communities affected. The residents of Oak Creek, WI, understand the pain these shootings cause—just four months ago, a white supremacist shot and killed six people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. That’s why Oak Creek stood with Newtown, CT, on Sunday, holding a vigil to remember the 26 people killed in a shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. Read the full story about the vigil on Oak Creek Patch.
Today we uploaded three new files to the Not In Our Town Action Kit: Materials from West Virginia's successful multi-pronged action campaign titled, West Virginia: No Place for Hate. Though this counter-protest occured in 2010, we believe these resources remain relevant and inspiring today. West Virginia leaders came together after Fred Phelps' Westboro hate group announced it would picket Catholic and Jewish institutions in the two towns, a local university, and a mine where more than a dozen miners had recently lost their lives. The Not In Our Town Action Kit is a hidden gem on NIOT.org, compiling resources from communities standing up to hate and intolerance. In addition to these materials from West Virginia, you will find: