Counter Demonstration against Fred Phelps

You saw it here first!  Before the news, before any other websites,
checkout the photos of this event by clicking "read more"

Folks from all over the Valley were called into action when it was rumored
Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church would be protesting the GSA
at the Tracy High School Graduations…..

Tracy, CA was the place to be June 11th.  Supporting the Tracy High GSA
brought hundreds of people from all over the Central Valley. A few folks
from San Francisco even made it down. By about 9:30 there were a hundred
folks, by 2:30 there were close to 200. Why were we all needed? The evil
tyrant Fred Phelps (Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas) and his radical
gang of anti-Gay, anti-American, anti-Christian , anti-everything under
the sun were to be there protesting the GSA as well as the Tracy school
district for allowing the GSA to be at their high school.
        
Justin Daley resurrected the GSA last year. This year it got a lot of
publicity when a teacher made some anti-gay statements to a student. Of
course that brought on the publicity. Fred Phelps was raring to go. To
his dismay, the school district ruled in favor of the GSA. Phelps’s
and his montage were planning their protest for the Graduation
ceremonies of both High Schools in Tracy.

Word got out to the gay community and those who support us. Then it was
on. Thousands of emails were sent out all over the state. Concentrating
in the Central Valley, all supporters, love warriors and civil rights
activist all over the place were called into duty. We needed to go to
Tracy show our support and to let Fred Phelps’s and his crew from
Kansas know that we weren’t going to let them ruin a graduation
without opposition.

The first graduation started at 9. It was rumored Phelps’s would be
there. We had our sings, we had our banners, and we had about 100
people. Phelps’s was a no show.  Our protest turned into a quiet
rally. We received many honks for support, many thumbs up, and of course
a couple birds were flown. All in all the morning rally went well.

Around 11 we retreated to the park where we had lunch, and sat under
shade trees and park benches to reflect the morning’s event, plan for
the later event, and just visit with friends and meet several new ones.

Around 2 p.m. we again gathered in front of the stadium. Signs and
banners in hand. The rumors started the Phelps’s would be coming
around 3. Sure enough, about 30 police officers started lining up in the
neutral area place between us and the would be area designated for the
Phelps protesters.  About 3:15 they came. They were few in number. About
15 I would say. They were carrying horrible signs. "God hates
America", "Thank God for 9-11", "God Hates Fags", "God
hate the GSA". And many many more. They even went so far as to throw
the American Flag on the ground and step all over it. These are not
peaceful people. There were no confrontations; however, there presence
was virulent enough.  They were surrounded by the police in order to
contain any physical confrontations that may have been instigated. There
were none. Fortunately, these evil doers were only present for about 15
minutes then they were on their way to spread the hate somewhere else.

Around 4:15 we started packing it in. We accomplished what we sat out
to do. To support the Tracy High GSA and to show Phelps’ he was not
wanted in the Central Valley. As we vacated the graduation, many hugs
and Thank You’s we spread all over the crowd. It was an emotional day,
and a great day for networking amongst out communities.  I suppose we
could actually thank Fred Phelps’ for bringing us all together.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say we had a job well done. The
support we showed for each other was overwhelming. To see the Central
Valley rally together in the numbers and passion that we did was
empowering. There is strength in numbers and we definitely had the
strength from our numbers.

A big Thank You goes out to everyone who took the time to run out to
Tracy as well as those who passed the information along. It felt good to
be a part of the huge support in our community and to take that support
and shower Tracy with it. 

Meals, drinks and transportation were provided via donations from:

Dr. Richard Jennings, Beth Scales, Reel Pride, GSA Network and Robin McGehee.

Becki Jones

         www.gayfresno.com

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Justin Daley
President of Tracy GSA
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Molly McKay
Associate Executive Director of EQCA

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Robin McGehee
(far left)
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And ME!
Becki Jones

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Fred Phelps group came in after 3pm:
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The following photos were provided by Whitney Douglas-Wedell (6/15):

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Additional Coverage:

KRON (local television) Video:
http://www.kron.com/Global/story.asp?S=3463041
KGO (local television) Video:
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/news/061105_nw_tracygay.html
San Francisco Chronicle Article:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/12/BAGVMD7FJF1.DTL&hw=tracy&sn=001&sc=1000
San Francisco Chronicle Article(prior to protest):
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/09/MNG7GD5RND1.DTL&hw=tracy&sn=002&sc=762
Article from Tracy Press prior to protest:
http://www.tracypress.com/ourTown/2005-06-11-spotlight.html
Article from Tracy Press after to protest:
http://www.tracypress.com/local/2005-06-13-westboro.html

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