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Civic Direct
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Robert Jay
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Originally Posted on May 9, 2017

On a sunny Sunday in May, over one hundred people gathered in Ferndale's Geary Park to show support for LGBTQIA solidarity. Spurred to action by bathroom bills, executive orders and lifetimes of discrimination, these centurions of love marched from 9 Mile and up Woodward, shouting "black, white, gay, straight, love does not discriminate!", "out of the closet and into the streets" and "they say get out, we say come out!" At their head was a Silverado steed, the standard bearer, waving flags for gay and trans equality while blaring upbeat tunes ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Avenged Sevenfold. The reaction from the streets of Ferndale was a chorus of cheers, car horns honking, a few confused looks and dozens of cell phones set to record.

Organized by the Metro-Detroit Political Action Network (MDPAN), the rally began at 5 PM. Protestors trickled over the next hour, meeting the various partner groups in attendance and learning new ways to get involved. Pictures were taken, jokes shared and signs made. In attendance were representatives from Refuse Fascism, Michigan for Choice, Fair Michigan, No Space for Hate, Taking Back Orange, GLSEN, and Bill Cobbs; a candidate for governor. At 6:30, everyone gathered at the pavilion for the rally to begin.

Adriene Avripas, leader of MDPAN, marshalled the speakers and commanded the megaphone. First on the docket was Joseph Fournier, who explained MDPAN's mission and the desire to fight for more stringent discrimination laws against businesses who fire people due to their gender or sexuality. Vicki represented Refuse Fascism and delivered an incendiary speech about how Trump targets one minority at a time, in an attempt turn us against each other. Jenny Elgin introduced No Space for Hate, a group of parents fighting for acceptance for the world their children will inhabit.

Bill Cobbs, a Navy veteran, spoke on how hard it is to find love in this world and that no one has a right to determine what partners a person can and cannot be with. Rachel Montgomery represented Michigan for Choice, which fights against government actions that strip citizens of their right to healthcare and safe family planning services. Dana Nessel and Jamie Powell, of Fair Michigan, teamed to inform the audience that Michigan does not consider violence against gay and trans people as a hate crime. However, their firm is still tracking those instances of violence and stands ready to prosecute once the necessary laws are passed

 

Equality Michigan continued the theme of protecting legal rights for LGBTQIA individuals, and also providing outreach for those afflicted with HIV. Brianna Kingsley spoke for GLSEN, an organization dedicated to providing a safe environment for students of all genders and sexualities at the K-12 education level. Adriene also pulled double duty, promoting the silent protest of Taking Back Orange and the SlutWalk, MDPAN's August event tackling rape culture and violence against women. Robert Fidler, of MDPAN, closed out the proceedings for the scheduled speakers, delivering a chilling account of the Chechnya pogrom against homosexuals and using it to inspire allies to action. After a couple impromptu speakers, it was time for Love is Love to take to the streets.

 

Those who stayed at Geary Park were treated to a concert, courtesy of Dave Toennies from Border Patrol. He played a few personal numbers that were inspired by the shock and rage following the election of Donald Trump. The Detroit Light Brigade augmented the performance with custom signs for the event. Die hards who stuck out the rally 'til the end were treated to Dave leading an improvised chorus of Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E", amplified by volunteers holding the Light Brigade's display. 

MDPAN would also like to thank the Ferndale Police Dept. for ensuring protestors had safe conduct throughout the march, and Geary Park for the use of the facilities.

 

Robert Jay
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Originally Posted on May 5, 2017 

Event Home

June 26th, 2015 seems like a long time ago. That was the day the Supreme Court ruled states cannot ban same sex marriage. Now, almost two years later, LGBT rights are back in the crosshairs. Legislatures in Texas, Arkansas and North Carolina are attempting to push discriminatory bathroom bills against the transgender community, forcing them to use restrooms according to the sex listed on their birth certificate. Should this become law nationally, trans men like Buck Angel would be legally mandated to use the women's room.  

Elsewhere, in Alabama, some county judges have refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing a legal precedent enacted in 1961 to preserve segregation. Anti-LGBT sentiment is ramping up globally, with the Chechen government enacting a pogrom against it's gay citizens. Given the potential collusion between the US executive branch and Russia, there's ample cause for concern. 

If these, or any other issues threatening the LGBTQIA community concern you, come join the Love is Love March in Ferndale this Sunday, May 8, in Geary Park between 5-9 PM and turn the White House rainbow again! Hosted by MDPAN, this event seeks to bolster solidarity between those marginalized by their gender and sexuality. We march against the hatred and bigotry of those who forced so many to hide their true selves, for threat of alienation, persecution and violence. 

 

We won't be alone at the march, the following groups will have tables set up for those who want to get more involved, and speakers too!

- Taking Back Orange: A means for silent protest against Trump and his cabinet.
- Putting the People First: Bill Cobb's campaign for Governor of MI, who agreed to speak at the event. His platform focuses on improved education and clean, affordable water for all of Michigan.
- Planned Parenthood: Providing essential services for reproductive and general health, in danger of losing funding under the current regime.
- No Space for Hate: A group of activist parents local to Ferndale who fight discrimination in Metro Detroit.
- Studio 416
- GLSEN - Southeast Michigan: This organization works to create a safe space for LGBTQIA youth in schools.
- Detroit Light Brigade: An illuminating art group, will be providing a light demonstration after the march.  

Last, but certainly not least, MDPAN's own Donnie Nuggets will be making an appearance!

#TakingBackOrange

 

 

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