Alert 8 to Participants

April 27, 2005

Are your bags packed? The weekend we’ve been waiting for is almost here!

Here are a few last bits of information that we hope are helpful (you can visit the Soulforce website at www.soulforce.org/televangelists/dobson/2005action/index.shtmlto review previous alerts in case you missed some.

1. AN OFFICIAL WELCOME TO COLORADO SPRINGS
We have just learned that Soulforce and all those attending the MAYDAY rally will be welcomed by the Vice-Mayor of Colorado Springs, Richard Skorman. Vice-Mayor Skorman has courageously stood up for the rights of the LGBT community in Colorado Springs, even as the Mayor and some city council members have not. Please help us give him a warm and enthusiastic reception.

2. WEATHER
As of today the weather forecast for Sunday, May 1 is 48 degrees, with a 30% chance of rain. However, weather changes quickly in Colorado Springs. We encourage you to check again before you leave by going to this link: www.weather.com/weather/local/USCO0078?par=internal&site=viewer&promo=english

Folks in Colorado tell us we should be prepared for rain, snow, or shine. The general rule is to layer your clothing so that you can take off or put on layers as needed. You might want to bring a rain jacket and/or umbrella as well. Remember that the rally is a go regardless of the weather! Our hearts will be warm even if our ears get cold and our feet get wet.

3. CHILDREN
We are pleased to announce that Soulforce veteran, Jeaneane Hill has agreed to facilitate a brief discussion/training for children who attend Saturday night or Sunday Morning training with their parents. In age appropriate language, she will help the children talk about why Soulforce is in Colorado Springs and to prepare them for the possibility of some counter-protestors. Also, we encourage all parents to bring their children and to have a talk with them about social justice and nonviolence before you arrive in Colorado Springs.

4. FOOD
Hotdogs, sandwiches and drinks will be available at the rally. However, if you prefer something a bit different, there are several restaurants at the Shops at Briargate, adjacent to Focus on the Family. These include Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, California Pizza Kitchen, Champps Americana, Maggie Moos Ice Cream Treatery, Panera Bread Co., PF Changs China Bistro, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Ted’s Montana Grill, and of course my personal favorite . . . Starbucks Coffee.

5. TRANSPORTATION & GETTING AROUND COLORADO SPRINGS
If you’re staying at the LeBaron hotel, there is a free shuttle from the Colorado Springs airport to the hotel. You can call the hotel at 719-471-8680. To make shuttle reservations for pickup at either Denver or Colorado Springs airports call 877-587-3456 (see Alert #4 for costs of shuttles) We are attaching a map to this Alert for those who can open it. Here are the addresses and times to pay attention to:

Sat evening & 9am Sun. – 1102 – S. 21st St. – MCC Church
Sun. 10:30am – Univ of Colorado Gym. 1420 Austin Bluffs Dr.
Sun noon – 8685 Explorer Dr. – Focus On the Family picnic
Mon. 8am – 1810 Briargate Parkway Hilton Garden Inn – training

OTHER SOULFORCE HOTELS:
7245 Commerce Ctr. Dr.
314 W. Bijou St.

6. CLERGY
We would like to ask all clergy to wear their collars if they are comfortable doing so. We want to show the media that many clergy stand in support of the LGBT comunity.

7. ON SITE REGISTRATION
Registration begins Saturday, April 30 at 5pm at Pikes Peak MCC 1102 S. 21st Street. Those coming in on Sunday, May 1, can register beginning at 10am at University of Colorado Gymnasium, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway (adjacent to the University Center). Those who have pre-registered should stop by the registration table to receive your name tag, song sheet for the march around Focus, and other materials. For anyone who has NOT preregistered, we will have people with clipboards wandering through the area, registering folks.

8. PREPARE YOUR HEART
It is absolutely critical that we all practice the Soulforce principle of "absorbing the suffering" at the rally on Sunday. May 1. In practical terms, that means that each of us must be willing to ignore and refrain from interacting with any counter-protestors. Focus on the Family would love to have one of us "act-out" (yell out in anger, confront a counter-protestor, etc). Their media machine would take that and spin it to continue perpetuating the untruth that we are all unhappy, violent, angry "militant homosexual activists".

In a documentary on Martin Luther King, Jr., there is a powerful scene that takes place during a training session in nonviolence. In this scene, the trainees role-played by having some people pretend to be counter-protestors. They yelled obscenities and slurs, while those in training simply practiced standing silently in the vigil line or walking silently in the march. You can do this training in your own mind. Close your eyes and imagine the ugly signs, imagine the ugly words, and most importantly, imagine yourself feeling peaceful, loving, and calm, despite the negativity of those protesting your presence.

The most powerful thing you can do is to simply have a good time and let it show. Smile. Laugh. Talk to your friends, your family, and your children. Focus (no pun intended) on the love that is evident around you among beautiful LGBT people and our allies. Cheer and applaud for the speakers and performers. Sing along to the music. Dance with us during the family slow dance. Help your friends and others around you ignore the negativity of counter-protestors. Celebrate the truth in your own heart and allow your own spirit to be renewed with love, even in the face of hate.

The Colorado Springs Police Department has been friendly and very professional during the planning of this event. They are well prepared to keep the peace and maintain safety for everyone. Common sense precautions are always a good idea: stay with one other person or with a group of people, and don’t walk alone. If you need help, look for one of our Peacekeepers and they will be happy to assist you.

Finally, I want to thank each of you for your courage in standing and marching peacefully with Soulforce during this action. My favorite saying related to social justice work is"A drop makes a hole in the stone not by its weight, but by its constant dripping."

One day we will win full equality for ourselves, our loved ones, and our children. Your "dripping" the truth in love this Sunday will be part of that eventual and historic victory.

Please print out the Event Flyer from the Soulforce website www.soulforce.org/televangelists/dobson/2005action/schedule.shtmlfor the most current (and final) list of times and locations. Blessings to you all and please travel safely to Colorado Springs!

Jeff Lutes,
Co-Chair, Colorado Springs Direct Action

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