Drowned Out

Shaker babydyke forwarded the below video of a great counter-protest staged by a group of students from Bay Area Gunn High School, which was recently chosen as the site of a protest by the odious Westboro Baptist Church clan, who really just need to give it the fuck up already. Enjoy!

[Transcript provided courtesy of Quixotess is below. Thanks, Q!]
[Opening shot of one of those changing signs; under "GUNN HIGH SCHOOL" the changing sign says "The highest result of education... / ...is tolerance. / Gunn High School / Celebrating Diversity." Students singing "This Little Light of Mine."]

Cat, Gunn High School student: Today, the WBC came to our school to protest sort of our acceptance and the fact that we are a really accepting school.

Daisy Renazco, Gunn High School teacher: "Who is this group that's coming?" and I realized, "Oh my god, it's Fred Phelps." And my heart just dropped. I can't believe they're coming. Like, why us? Of all the schools, why us?

[Text on screen: A Kansas hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church announced it would picket at Bay Area schools and Jewish institutions.]

Daisy Renazco: I knew there was a planning meeting that was happening, so I kind of sent my thoughts to him, saying "I understand that the best response is no response sometimes. But for my students, if they want to go and respond in some sort of peaceful way, I want to support them en that, and hopefully you guys would be okay with that." And they were great. The administration's been super-supportive.

Cat: There was--one person said that it would be a really good idea if there was just nobody there, and if it was just this barren school, and "we're just not going to listen to you." And that would have been really effective, and it would have been really cool, but we decided that realistically wasn't going to happen. Because when we walked out there this morning, we were expecting to see a handful of people out there, but there were like--oh my god, it was just covered in people, right across the street!

[Many members of the Gunn community outside protesting. We can see their signs: Legalize gay!, Love thy neighbor, Moms (heart) our kids (heart) Gunn (heart), Leave our kids alone.]

Daisy Renazco: So the Westboro Baptist Church came this morning, and they picketed right across our street [she points; there are a couple dozen protestors on that side of the street]. So as a community, we decided to come, have signs and songs to kind of show our love for each other. [Many, many people counterprotesting. The lopsidedness of the numbers is obvious; there are probably hundreds of people here. Signs say Gunn Cares, God is love.] We're here, and no matter who you are, we still love you.

Ria, Gunn High School student: I am so glad that this worked out. It's not violent or anything.

Will, Gunn High School Student: And, uh, this is basically just meant to demonstrate that Gunn is a loving and accepting place. [Sign: Love is free.]

Daisy Renazco [as students sing in the background]: The Gay-Straight Alliance, actually, once they found out, they actually set up a Facebook group. And they invited all their friends from all schools in the Bay area, and started the conversation that way online. [WBC signs: Fags are beasts, America is doomed, God hates Obama, etc.] And they decided as a group that they wanted to sing, [Gunn sign: Love thy neighbor] and when the administration talked about planning a lunchtime activity, they said "Great, we'll go out, we'll sing there too." So they really have stepped up and taken a lead role and set the tone for the campus.]

Noreen Likins, Gunn High School Principal: What we've done as a community is I think really talk about this ahead of time. With an assembly on Tuesday I was able to actually talk to all of the students about what to expect, what kind of organization they were looking to come here. And I think that has given them time to process and time to think about it in a way that, if it had just been sprung upon them, it would have been hard. I'm very, very proud of the kids. They did a super job. [Sign: All you need is love.]

Student [at microphone, addressing the crowd of students outside]: Thank you so much for coming out and supporting your fellow students, trying to create a sense of community. [Students applaud and cheer.]

[Two students at microphones, with sheet music & music stands, singing "Let it Be."]

Daisy Renazco: So I think what really affirmed today is what a positive environment we have at Gunn [Student's shirt says "Gay? fine by me."] and how accepting everyone is. And, you know, I feel like a lot of people say the word "tolerance," but, you know, that's not true. We don't tolerate each other, we actually accept each other. [Students, including Cat, playing bongos & guitar and singing "Lean on Me."

Cat: I am so proud to be a Gunn student, every day, but especially today. [Student adds to a board of sticky notes saying things like Gunn is love!, :D, Love = music Gunn coffee, The point of LOVE is to love everyone.] Really, the support was amazing. [Sticky notes: HOPE, love laugh love. Students singing "We Shall Overcome."]

[Gunn High School changing sign: "Not in our schools...Not in our Town." End card: NOT IN OUR TOWN / www.niot.org / copyright The Working Group.]

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