Monday, March 2, 2009

Peace vs. Hate..."The Laramie Project" Demonstrations.

Students, faculty and staff members of Dominican University gathered hand in hand, forming a human peace sign on Sunday, March 1. The demonstration was successful in overcoming the powerful hate messages from members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church. The extremist picketers stood on Division Street as they protested DU's production of "The Laramie Project," a play based on the real-life aftermath of the murder of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual college student from Wyoming.

Watch this video to see video coverage from the protest and counter-protest.


  1. great video!! this is better than what I watched on the Forest Leaves website.

    I am so proud of our community for their successful protest and message of peace!!

  2. Thank you for making this! I'm so proud of my alma mater!

  3. I was privileged to be there and here's what I wrote on my pseudo-blog.

    “God Hates You”

    That’s what the sign said yesterday, just outside the main entrance to our campus. Protesters had come a long distance to inform us, in response to our school’s production of “The Laramie Project,” a play based on the killing of Matthew Shepherd, a gay college student who was tortured and murdered 11 years ago. Our visitors’ signage also asserted that Shepherd was “in Hell” since God also, according another sign, “Hates Fags.”

    God Hates You. But I and so many of us work in a university devoted to Caritas (love) and Veritas (truth), and this play considers the fragile and complex possibilities of overcoming hatred with compassion. Nonetheless God hates me, hates us all, the sign suggested as we silently witnessed to our convictions yesterday afternoon before the show’s final performance.

    Many from the Dominican University community, and others, had come together to prepare for that witnessing. A colleague, Hugh McElwain, shared these words before we stepped outside to be informed that God hated us:

    We are invited—indeed mandated—to exhibit feelings of peace, serenity and tranquility. There must first and foremost be peace and love in our hearts if our behavior is to be peaceful and conciliatory.

    While we walk in the footsteps of magnificent mentors, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and others, we are challenged to empty ourselves of all negative feelings not only of anger, hatred and vengeance, but also of any air of self-righteousness.

    Our resolve is to be driven by love, compassion and understanding, since we are inspired by the deeply imbedded belief that caritas—that is, compassion and love—is a force more powerful than hatred and violence.

    With silence as our guiding word, with serenity and love in our hearts, our general demeanor, our gestures, even our thoughts will be totally void of anger and distress. Our mantra and motto will be a witness to our actions: LOVE—CARITAS—IS A FORCE MORE POWERFUL THAN ALL HATRED AND VIOLENCE.

    And so it was.

    I heard later that our visitors brought not only their list of God’s hatreds but also a child, perhaps seven or eight years old.

    A child.

    Our witness was silent but I hope it said this: God loves you.

  4. This is some very good work. Did the protesters not want to talk?