Posted August 18th - the day after Pride in the Park...The Magic Words Pledge Drive to foil the "Repent America" protesters ---- Community Pledges topped $1900 with most pledging 10 cents per word!!! The protesters said the Magic Words more than 2600 times! Each time, the the amount to benefit our community rose as our volunteers counted, checked off the words, and rang the bell.
How We Foiled Repent America For Fun and Profit and How You Can Too!

At the Reading Pride Festival, the annoying and insulting anti-gay Repent America protesters were set up right near the PA Diversity Network booth. They shouted insults and spouted convoluted logic about our community based in the strangest interpretations of the Bible I’ve ever heard -- and I’ve heard a lot. When one guy, who seemed to lack the facility to yell actual words took over, he loudly grunted (yes, grunted) nonstop for 20 minutes.

Silent Witness, the wonderful group with the giant rainbow umbrellas that stands between us and the icky protesters, was there in Reading doing their job. One of the most important things Silent Witness does, is block our own people from physically acting against the protesters. This is very important, because what these hateful (and kind of sad) protesters really want is for some GLBT person to throw a punch, so they can sue us.

Unfortunately, the beautiful umbrellas don’t stop the protesters from showing up or shouting unpleasant things. So I began to think up a plan to foil the protesters with their own words. I came up with the “PA Diversity Network Magic Words Pledge Drive.”

We started the pledge drive when Repent America announced they were going to be at the Greater Lehigh Valley Pride in the Park festival in Allentown in a letter to the editor in the Morning Call newspaper. They also insisted it was unconstitutional to block them with umbrellas since all they were doing was praying. (That’s praying?)

Here’s how the Magic Words Pledge Drive worked: We a selected 10 magic words that the protesters love to say and 3 secret words that we wouldn’t let the protesters know about. Then we challenged the GLBTA community to pledge ten cents a word for every time the protesters said one of the words. People could cap their amounts at anything they wanted.

Our volunteers - two per two hour shift - would count the words and ring a bell each time a word was said. GLV Pride asked that the bell be on the small side so it wouldn’t irritate people in booths or conflict with the entertainment. We ended up using one of those hotel counter bells that had a delightful ding, but that wasn’t too loud. I also came up with the slogan: Every time you hear a bell ring, our angels get more wings!

Emails circulated around the community. By the day before the festival pledges reached $4.30 per word, up to a capped total of $1615...at that point I began to worry that the protesters WOULDN’T show up! People capped at every amount from $5 to $250 and one very brave person pledged ten cents a word with no cap! By the end of the festival, the total amount was over $2000!!!

We decided to equally share the money with groups that gave us volunteers for the counting and bell ringing. We also agreed that Silent Witness should get a share, but Silent Witness graciously turned down the money and asked us to donate it to a GLBT youth program. The two other groups that volunteered for the effort were Muhlenberg College’s Gay/Straight Student Alliance, and Pottsville PFLAG.

PA Diversity Network decided to designate our share for the PDN Youth Initiative program. And the share that Silent Witness would have gotten will go to that program, too.

The PDN Youth Initiative program will offer small financial grants of up to $200 to Eastern PA High School, College and Community Gay/Straight Alliances for supplies or funding for projects to further diversity and tolerance in their communities. This is not money for something like a dance or a party, but rather for activist efforts toward equal rights, advocacy or education. A great example would be the $50 needed by Parkland High School’s GSA for the supplies they needed for their Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Person project. The students sold the cookies to other students at school during lunchtime and they encouraged the other students to decorate the cookies with any gender expression they wanted. This project addressed gender identity in a positive and fun way. The GSA in turn, donated the money they made from the cookie sales to the Ali Forney Center in NYC, that provides safe housing for runaway GLBT youth.

It was great that all the money collected from the Magic Words Pledge Drive went to GLBT youth and family programs. The PDN Youth Initiative will be put into motion as soon as all the pledges are collected. We’ll have more on the Youth Initiative, explaining how GSAs can apply, in a later issue of Panzee and at the PDN web site at: www.padiversity.org.

The pledge drive volunteers counting the words and ringing the bell had to endure a lot of unpleasantness from the protesters. Believe me, I was there part of the time, it wasn’t praying. The protesters personally insulted me and some of the volunteers - they knew my name and harassed me by making personal remarks aimed only to hurt and annoy, but I kept hearing that bell ring and all their words did was make me smile.

Picture this --A beautiful day, a protester shouting, a bell ringing: “Repent (ding) your lifestyle (ding) that the Devil (ding) and Satan (ding) made you homosexuals (ding) sin (ding) against God (ding) and Jesus (ding).” And me walking away waving and saying, “Thanks for the money, folks!”
.
It would be great if they just left us alone, but if not, let’s be sure that the protesters never show up again in our community without their words funding our efforts. If the protesters are coming to your town - run the pledge drive. It’s easy. Contact me if you need some pointers. Above all, be sure that you share the money with other groups in a way that will strongly further the equal rights of the GLBT community.

By the end of Pride in the Park the protesters had said the Magic Words 2632 times, which covered all the pledges. Here’s a breakdown:

Abomination: 79 times
Bible: 122
Devil: 14
Ex-Gay: 11
God: 772
Grunting (secret sound): 13
Homosexual: 200
Jesus: 743
Lifestyle: 35
Repent: 193
Satan: 29
Sin: 389
Sodom: 32

By the way, several of these protesters were fixated on the Woods Campground, they just couldn’t stop asking me what it was like. Go figure. And here are some of the other bizarre things they said:

“You can’t put God on a chain like you do that dog!”

“It’s not a lifestyle, it’s a truthstyle!”

“There is no ice cream in Hell!”

“God’s way or the highway!”

“You can go muffin diving all you want, all you’re going to get is throat cancer!”

“You’re not gay, you’re sad!”

“Praise God I’m straight...WHEW! -- Do I get another WHEW on that?“

“Jesus hung on the cross and gave you a free gift!”

By the way, you can check out 100s of photos from both the Reading and Lehigh Valley Pride festivals at www.padiversity.org.



See a photo album of Greater Lehigh Valley Pride 2008, that includes photos of the volunteers recording the Magic Words by clicking here.




Read more about the Magic Words Pledge Drive below. Read the Repent America letter in the Morning Call here: http://www.mcall.com/news/opinion/letters/all-armbruster2.6528730aug08,0,5914499.story


Anti-Gay MCALL Letter to Editor Fuels PDN Magic Words Pledge Drive

Foil the Anti-Gay Protesters at the Festival -- Here's How

"Repent America" has a letter to the editor in the Morning Call Newspaper -"Prayers should be allowed in public including at Gay Pride event" - This is the group who uses that megaphone to disrupt the Pride Festival by insulting our community with hate language -- that's their idea of prayer. Their letter to the editor specifically targets Rev. Beth Goudy (by name) and Silent Witness. A link to the article is below.

How do we FOIL THIS GROUP??? - HERE'S HOW!!!!
Repent America will be at the GLV Pride Festival a week from Sunday (the 17th). Yes, they have the Constitutional Right to Free Speech, but we also have the right to benefit from their speech.
Join the PA Diversity MAGIC WORDS PLEDGE DRIVE. People in the community are pledging 10 cents to the drive every time one of the protesters shouts one of these magic words: Satan, devil, abomination, Bible, God, Jesus, sin (sinner), lifestyle, ex-gay and “homo-sexy-al." Each time the protesters say one of the words -- our volunteers will ring a nice little bell. The money will be split evenly between GLBTA groups that supply volunteers to cover the bell and count the words they say.

HOW YOU PLEDGE: Pledges can be capped at any amount. It would be great if you could cap your pledge at at least $20. Less is OK, more is great! To pledge - just email me at lbradbury@padiversity.org or call in me at our office: 610-432-5449: include your name, address, phone number and email address ----- We will bill you for the amount you owe (up to your capped amount) after the festival - when you are billed, you can pay by check in the mail or by paypal or credit card on line.

Pledge AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - because the festival is very soon. People can pledge at the festival - but it is best to pledge before hand so we can reflect on the poster the volunteer if holding -- how much the community is making on each word.

HOW TO VOLUNTEER (and help your 501c3 organization get a part of the pledge money collected).
We need two volunteers for each of 3 two hour shifts during the festival (Between noon and 6pm). One person will hold a sign that explains the pledge drive and will ring the bell each time one of the words is said. The other volunteer will count the magic words said by the protesters, keeping track on a paper list. Organizations that provide a pair of volunteers for these tasks will get an even share of the pledge drive money. So far the organizations that will benefit from the pledge drive are PA Diversity Network and we will also give a share to Silent Witness. Please note that the MAGIC WORDS PLEDGE DRIVE is run by PA Diversity Network and is not part of Silent Witness or any other group. We just want it to support other groups, so volunteers please contact me.
lbradbury@padiversity.org or 610-432-5449

Don't sit by and let these Protesters get the best of us! Please Pledge Now!

Thanks to everyone who has already Pledged.

Liz

Liz Bradbury
Executive Director
PA Diversity Network
and
Publisher
Valley Gay Press
PO Box 22902
Lehigh Valley, PA 18002
610-432-5449
lbradbury@aol.com
fax:610-820-8362
www.padiversity.org







Posted: August 8th, 2008

Anti-Gay MCALL Letter to Editor Fuels PDN Magic Words Pledge Drive
Foil the Anti-Gay Protesters at the Festival -- Here's How


"Repent America" has a letter to the editor in the Morning Call Newspaper today -"Prayers should be allowed in public including at Gay Pride event" - This is the group who uses that megaphone to disrupt the Pride Festival by insulting our community with hate language -- that's their idea of prayer. Their letter to the editor specifically targets Rev. Beth Goudy (by name) and Silent Witness. A link to the article is below.

How do we FOIL THIS GROUP??? - HERE'S HOW!!!!

Repent America will be at the GLV Pride Festival a week from Sunday (the 17th). Yes, they have the Constitutional Right to Free Speech, but we also have the right to benefit from their speech.

Join the PA Diversity MAGIC WORDS PLEDGE DRIVE. People in the community are pledging 10 cents to the drive every time one of the protesters shouts one of these magic words: Satan, devil, abomination, Bible, God, Jesus, sin (sinner), lifestyle, ex-gay and “homo-sexy-al." Each time the protesters say one of the words -- our volunteers will ring a loud bell. The money will be split evenly between GLBTA groups that supply volunteers to cover the bell and count the words they say, along with a share to Silent Witness.

A full article explaining the Magic Word Pledge Drive I wrote for the Valley Gay Press, is below.

HOW YOU PLEDGE: Pledges can be capped at any amount. It would be great if you could cap your pledge at at least $20. Less is OK, more is great! To pledge - just email me at lbradbury@padiversity.org or call in me at our office: 610-432-5449: include your name, address, phone number and email address -----
We will bill you for the amount you owe (up to your capped amount) after the festival - when you are billed, you can pay by check in the mail or by paypal or credit card on line.

Pledge AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - because the festival is very soon. People can pledge at the festival - but it is best to pledge before hand so we can reflect on the poster the volunteer if holding -- how much the community is making on each word.

HOW TO VOLUNTEER (and help your 501c3 organization get a part of the pledge money collected).
We need two volunteers for each of 3 two hour shifts during the festival (Between noon and 6pm). One person will hold a sign that explains the pledge drive and will ring the bell each time one of the words is said. The other volunteer will count the magic words said by the protesters, keeping track on a paper list. Organizations that provide a pair of volunteers for these tasks will get an even share of the pledge drive money. So far the organizations that will benefit from the pledge drive are PA Diversity Network and we will also give a share to Silent Witness. Please note that the MAGIC WORDS PLEDGE DRIVE is run by PA Diversity Network and is not part of Silent Witness or any other group. We just want it to support other groups, so volunteers please contact me.
lbradbury@padiversity.org or 610-432-5449

ALSO: WE NEED A BIG BELL WITH A HANDLE ON IT - LIKE THE KIND USED IN A BELL CHOIR OR FOR DING DONG SCHOOL. If you can lend us one, please contact me.

Don't site by and let these Protesters get the best of us! Please Pledge Now! REMEMBER - EVERY TIME YOU HEAR A BELL RING - OUR ANGELS GET MORE WINGS!

MAGIC WORDS PLEDGE DRIVE - By Liz Bradbury
Anti-gay protesters were at the Reading Pride Festival, and they'll probably be at the Lehigh Valley Festival, too. Luckily Silent Witness, with their rainbow umbrellas, were at Reading to block these repressed kooks. Let's hope Silent Witness is in place for GLV Pride, too.
Here's the problem though...we just aren't getting enough out of these creepy protesters presence!
At the Reading Festival, I overheard one of the Silent Witness people telling Trish that Silent Witness's goal is to put these protesters out of business by totally ignoring them. That's what they train the Witnesses to do - non-interaction, just hold the umbrellas and don't engage with the protesters. The thing is...I don't think this will “put the protesters out of business.”
Silent Witness provides a very significant service to our community. They keep our GLBTA people from “interacting” with the annoying protesters. This is really important because what the protesters seem to want is for our folks to lash out at them physically, so protesters can sue gay people for assault and get big financial judgments. Silent Witness is there as the barrier. Silent Witness keeps our people non-confrontational. Also, Silent Witness protects out people from the occasionally rampant protester who becomes physically aggressive toward us.
But Silent Witnesses umbrellas don't really help us completely ignore the protesters. After all, we're fabulous. We love the rainbow colors of the umbrellas. It's hard not to look at them. The protesters bring little stepladders with them so they can climb up and shout annoying and hateful things over the top of the umbrellas. It makes for a fascinating tableau - in a “car wreck” kind of way. In some ways, the Silent Witness umbrellas focus us on the protesters.
What can we do? Let's have a gentle pledge drive that includes a bit of comedy!
Here's how the “Magic Words Pledge Drive” works: Community people can make a pledge that every time the protesters say one of the magic words, they'll donate ten cents into a pool of money that will go to GLBT supportive groups. We'll pick out ten of the protesters favorite words: Satan, devil, abomination, Bible, God, Jesus, sin, “homo-sexy-al”, lifestyle, ex-gay -- and every time a protester yells one of those words, one of our volunteers will ring a Ding-Dong School bell signifying that the amount pledged has gone up again. Those who pledge can cap their amount at any level they want. You can pledge 10 cents for each time they say one of the words, with a maximum cap of $20, $50, or $100... whatever.
A share of the money will go to support Silent Witness, because their job is very important, and a share can go to each other GLBTA organization that provides two volunteers to work the drive for a two-hour shift. One volunteer will hold a sign explaining the “Magic Words Pledge Drive” and ring the big bell every time one of the words is said, and the other volunteer will note down how many times the words are said, and occasionally post what the earnings are up to.
The constant bell ringing will be heard all over the festival, and GLBTA people will be smiling at every ring!
I'll be working on getting people to pledge and volunteer. If you want to do either - please email me ASAP.
LBradbury@padiversity.org.


Read today's Repent America letter in the Morning Call here: http://
www.mcall.com/news/opinion/letters/all-armbruster2.6528730aug08,0,5914499.story