here and here. Upon this news breaking my Facebook and email both lit up with emails about how to respond. I asked via Facebook my colleagues about their advice and recommendations. There were two responses one was to ignore them completely, do not show up, do not counter demonstrate unless it is a separate location at a different time and the other was to form a human shield so that faculty and staff would not be able to see them. Both made it clear to not engage with them directly in any way.
After much internal and external debate, I have personally decided that I will stay home on June 1 because at the end of the day what this group and others like it want is for us to feed their publicity. The more people that talk about them, write about them, show up and counter demonstrate the better it is for them. They get what they are seeking a louder platform for their hateful and bigoted message all done in the name of God.
Part of me really wants to be out there. Part of me wants to shout at the top of my lungs how wrong they are, how each of us is a beloved child of the holy - sacred, unique, beloved. To shout that each and every single one of us including each one of them is loved and saved by the source of all. I want to form that human shield so that no First Flight student or staff member will see any of their hateful signs. Yet at the end of the day that gives them a victory as well. The press will cover it and they won't just cover those coming out in support of diversity and inclusion but they will cover and show pictures of their signs.
I loved the article from the Outer Banks Voice and their refusal, as I am, to name this group. This article was actually a tipping point in my own decision making process. I also loved that the journalist pulled in a Harry Potter reference. I want to refine it a bit though. Voldemort thrived in silence and in the dark. He kept himself and his plan secret. He and his Death Eaters hid behind secret symbols and masques. People were so afraid that they would not even utter his name, which itself was an alias. Dumbledore, Harry and his friends used his name so that it would cease to have power. In this case, however, to name this group, which does not operate in secret and does not wear masques, is to give them power. To name them is to legitimize them, to say that in some way they have something of worth to say. So I choose not to name them, I choose not to legitimize them. My biggest hope would be that all the press would stay home and not say one word about what may or may not happen on June 1.
At the end of the day I pray for a world where groups like this have no fertile soil to grow in. I pray that their message falls on deaf ears. I pray for a world where all people are valued and celebrated. I pray that we learn to be open minded, open hearted people that appreciate and treasure the beauty and diversity that is humankind.
Please note: As with all the material on my blog, these are my thoughts and opinions. I am not speaking on behalf of any other group or person and the thoughts and opinions expressed here should be understood as my own.