For Immediate Release – November 11, 2010
CSU Fullerton Students to Hate Group: “The Show Must Go On!”
Santa Ana, CA – When Nick Rocz heard that an anti-gay group was planning to protest an upcoming performance of The Laramie Project, he had one thought: the show MUST go on. “The Laramie Project tells the story of a young man killed because he was gay. The idea that we would let a small group of anti-gay protestors stop us from telling that story is just unthinkable,” said Rocz, a senior at CSU Fullerton and performer in CSU Fullerton’s production of The Laramie Project. The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has announced plans to protest this Saturday’s performance through their website.
The Laramie Project is a performance piece based on interviews conducted in Laramie, Wyoming in the wake of the murder of Matthew Shepard. Shepard’s murder in 1998 became one of the most well-known cases of anti-gay violence in the US. “The Laramie Project is a story of prejudice and fear that results in inconceivable violence. It is also a story of love and hope,” explains Assistant Professor Karyl Ketchum, a faculty member in the Women and Gender Studies Department at CSU Fullerton. “In a time when hatred seems increasingly tolerated on the political stage and in our schools, it becomes critical that we listen to the lessons that stories such as The Laramie Project have to teach us.” CSU Fullerton’s production concludes its run with performances every night at 8 PM from Thursday, November 11 through Saturday, November 13 at the Grand Central Art Theater in downtown Santa Ana.
“Given the content of the performance and the recent suicides among gay youth, (WBC)’s decision to protest this event is simply despicable,” said Katie Claburn, president of CSU Fullerton’s Queer Straight Alliance. The Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, is known for its anti-gay protests, including protests held at the funerals of US soldiers. The WBC is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is actively monitored by the Anti-Defamation League.
“We’re planning a peaceful demonstration to counter their messages of hate with messages of love and acceptance,” said Claburn. CSU Fullerton’s Queer Straight Alliance is organizing students to gather in support of The Laramie Project. They will gather outside the Grand Central Art Theater starting at 6:30 PM on Saturday, November 13. “Our gathering will be a peaceful demonstration of support for the performers and attendees. And we want to show any gay youth out there that love is stronger than hate.”
Tickets for the remaining performances will be available at the door. More details can be found at the Facebook event page: http://tinyurl.com/TheLaramieProject. More information on The Laramie Project can be found at www.laramieproject.org.
CSU Fullerton’s Queer Straight Alliance invites community members to join in their peaceful show of support. More details on the demonstration can be found at the Facebook event page: http://tinyurl.com/PeacefulDemonstration and the Meetup event page: http://www.meetup.com/ocequality/calendar/15388007.
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