Soulforce - Day 6
Jul 23, 2006
The airport pickup is at 5 a.m. this morning. I won't call these closing words, because the purpose of Soulforce's event here at Focus On The Family is not to close but to open, and not to finish but rather to begin.
After a week of working our way to Colorado Springs in the small group of marchers, we came to the final march. What a soul-lifting moment to unicycle around the corner to the assembly area and see it full. Vehicles were dropping off marchers, and then driving back out to find more parking on the street. Over 400 people stretched for blocks as we marched the 1.5 miles. I unicycled back and forth amongst this group that ranged from newborn babies to elder grandparents. (Pictures should be available soon at www.soulforce.org. These photos are from Friday.)
Upon arrival we stretched out along the sidewalk and all faced Focus On The Family. They'd closed down for the day and had guards at all their entrances. For five or ten silent minutes, we stood there, envisioning a future without hate.
Our concert followed in the street at the entrance to Focus On The Family. Billy Porter gave us his voice and his original compositions, and his story. He tells how he and his mom are finally understanding one another after ten years of estrangement since his announcement as being gay. Actor Chad Allen spoke to us. Judy Shepherd shared words, it was her son Matthew who was so brutally murdered in Wyoming some years back.
Judy asked all parents of LGBT children to walk with her over to the entrance of Focus on The Family. Together they presented a Family Album with photos from all the marchers during the week, with all their families. A Focus representative album received the album and the request that Dr. Dobson see this album. I wish that he could see what I have seen this week.
One of the gay dads stopped by a table where I was sitting today. Earlier in the week he'd joked about all the Soulforce propoganda his husband had been receiving, and that he was mostly along to fulfill the wish of his husband. This afternoon I saw a new activist.
He'd been waiting in a WalMart parking lot for his husband to do some shopping, watching people sign the anti-gay ballot proposition. Gay people were being called faggots and he went up to talk. "Don't you realize this is the same language of hate that's was used against black people and against interracial marriage? Don't you realize this is what happened to Jews in the holocaust?"
"Don't you dare compare homosexuals to Jews," a woman castigated him as they continued to gather signature to deny this father of four the civil rights and responsibilities of his fatherhood.
He was still fuming when we talked. "So many of my friends have W stickers back in Georgia. I've never put a bumper sticker on my car before, but I'm going home and filling it up with equality stickers. I'm beginning to worry about the time when I won't be allowed to be a parent."
In Florida, it's already illegal for LGBT people to adopt, and has been for years. This many came for the noble cause of supporting his husband on his Soulforce walk. He returns home a new activist, to support the equal rights of all people.
A Bunch of Books:
Sold Out both cases of books. I've met many who are reading A-Page-A-Day, and are now eager to have the whole book. An amazing number have heard of the Straight Into Gay America Ride. These people understand why I rushed so hard to have the book ready for election season conversations. All of us want to make a November difference in the direction of equality.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate the release of Straight Into Gay America than being here. Thank you Soulforce. Thank you to all who offer support and encouragement. Thank you now for continuing to make this story known to others. The adventure continues.