By EMMA KEYES, CONTRIBUTER On May 25th, The Westboro Baptist Church announced their intention to picket Wilson on June 9th from 8:15 to 8:45 in the morning. The Westboro Baptist Church is a group unaffiliated with the official American Baptist church and is known for its extreme intolerance of LGBTQ+ people. They have been known to picket soldiers’ funerals as well as various events related to LGBTQ+ issues. The group has also staged demonstrations against Jews and Catholics. The WBC is widely considered to be a hate group and is monitored by organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation league.
The WBC announced their plan to picket Wilson via twitter. According to their website (which gains ad revenue every time someone goes on, so to avoid supporting the group try to avoid visiting the website) they are protesting Wilson because of our school’s “resources for gay and lesbian youths” and because Wilson openly celebrates a student pride day. The second annual pride day is being held around the same time as the protest.
Minutes after the announcement, Wilson students began to organize in protest. Kellik Dawson and Brian Keyes created a facebook event page titled “Westboro Meet and Greet” where hundreds of students from Wilson and other schools in the area are already planning a counter-protest in response to the WBC picket. In an email Principal Cahall told Brian Keyes that “there will be no consequences from the school” towards any students involved in the counter protest although Cahall is unsure of whether he can officially endorse it. This is the second time the WBC will picket Wilson. The first time was November 10, 2009.
Photo Courtesy of Eliza Hamburger