“We’re gonna beat. Back. The bigot’s attack! We’re gonna beat beat back that bigot’s attack!” Dozens of us crowded around the Holy Grounds Coffeehouse, bellowing these words with a combination of joy and anger. We were already feeling empowered, having spent the last fifteen minutes performing a scripted People’s Mic about the dangerous man in front of us. The People’s Mic is a tool used by the burgeoning Occupy/Decolonize Movement that utilizes peoples’ collective voices to amplify a single person’s words.
The Holy Grounds Coffeehouse, located on 455 State Street in Springfield MA, is home to the ministries of Scott Lively, an outspoken leader of the anti-gay movement, both nationally and internationally. He is most well-known for his involvement in Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, and has played a role in developing legislation that criminalizes and disenfranchises LGBTQ people in various places throughout the world. His presence in Springfield endangers our LGBTQ community.
Our March Against Hate on November 18th made it clear to Lively and his supporters that we will not let his hateful rhetoric and action go unchecked. There are more of us than them, and we will continue to work to increase our visibility and power while also ensuring that their influence continues to diminish. Organized by Occupy Springfield (and endorsed by Out Now and Stop the Hate and Homophobia Coalition), the march and rally is an important step forward for grassroots organizing in Springfield, as wider layers of local activists are stepping up to take on homophobia and transphobia in their own organizing work.
Thanks to Joe Oliverio, for making such an awesome video of the event! You can see more of Joe’s videos about various social justice campaigns here.