Hope Not Harm

Hope Not Harm

On February 20, 2011, Sunday, Soulforce will join with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to engage in a non-violent act of resistance to the exportation of homophobia and religious bigotry to Uganda by Lou Engle, evangelist and founder of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) and The Call. We will be joined by volunteers from the organization EQUAL of Kansas City, Missouri, volunteers who conducted a highly visible public protest of Mr. Engle’s activities last December, 2010. 


UPDATE – FEBRUARY 17, 2011: As of today, Lou Engle has agreed to meet with a group representing HRC and Soulforce at a date to be determined. HRC and Soulforce look forward to meeting with Engle and directly communicating their concerns about his radical views, and urge him to immediately make two statements on record: one opposing the criminalization of homosexuality in any country, and another, delivered on Ugandan soil, explicitly opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.  In the meantime, Sunday’s scheduled vigil and delivery of petitions will go forward as planned in order to educate the public about the horrific situation in Uganda and the role American evangelicals have played in escalating it.


We will deliver a petition with 36,000 signatures calling for the end of USA supported ministries in Uganda that catalyze harm and death to LGBTQ people. We will join in a vigil outside the church during worship services at IHOP, awaiting Mr. Engle’s response to our letter request to dialogue about the horrific treatment of LGBTQ Ugandans arising out of USA broadcasts and on-site religious propaganda.

We want to thank the United Nations Faith Coalition for LGBT Human Rights for its groundbreaking work in Uganda in defending the worth and dignity of all people, particularly members of the LGBTQ community. Friends and allies of LGBTQ people are invited to join together on the sidewalk in front of the International House of Prayer (3535 Red Ride Road) at 7:45am on Sunday morning.

SCHEDULE
7:45 am – Vigil begins on sidewalk in front of the International House of Prayer
10:15 am – Sunday Worship
12:30 pm – Press Conference

The International House of Prayer is located at 3535 E Red Ridge Road, Kansas City, MO 64137.
Limited parking is available across from IHOP and in the surrounding residential areas east and west of IHOP

Please check out our Facebook event, and rsvp to attend this action.

For those interested in attending the action, we will be having an important call – in training and briefing about our schedule for this action and the non-violent principles by which we operate. This call will take place at 7:30pm EST on Thursday, February 17th. We ask that when you join the call, you not announce yourself and place your devices on mute. There may be a large number of participants, and this will make the call more functional. The call will last about an hour, and will be informational. A period for questions and feedback will take place after the briefing and training. A copy of our source material for the presentation can be downloaded here.  Participants are encouraged to read over this presentation and follow along throughout the call.

 Conference Call details
1. Call (712) 451-6050 prior to 7:30pm EST.
2. Dial our conference code: 1007067# to connect.
3. Place phone on mute to eliminate background noise.

We are dedicated to ending the exportation of bigotry and spiritual violence. We also want to honor and keep in remembrance those whose lives have been taken in Uganda, including most recently David Kato.

Please make plans to join us in Kansas City. Even if you can’t be with us in person, you can still aid this and other important programs by donating today!

Please pass this information along to all of your friends and folks who live in the Kansas City area!

Video references

Below are a series of videos from Rachael Maddow’s show which give more information and shed light into the on-going situation. We invite you to spend 30 minutes watching them if you haven’t already.

 

 

William Meyer reflects on Soulforce Symposium

Soulforce Symposium speaker William Meyer prepared a short article reflecting upon his time at the event. You can read it on our blog: https://soulforceactionarchives.org/blogs/william-meyer-reflecting-on-soulforce-symposium-philadelphia-2010

Soulforce to table and present at Minnesota Out Campus Conference

Soulforce will be presenting at the upcoming Minnesota Out Campus Conference (MOCC). Over 500 college age students are expected to attend from 4 states. Soulforce will present a workshop covering principles of Non-Violence Resistance, as well as working within faith communities to affirm LGBTQ identities. 

Presenting the Soulforce material will be Equality Ride Alum Amanda Lee Genaro and Soulforce Director of Programs Jason Conner. Soulforce will also have a table giving out literature and encouraging people to look into the Equality Ride and other programs. 

Check out more info about MOCC on their website. If you aren’t in the Minneapolis area and would still like to support Soulforce in this and other programs, please donate today!

Soulforce Symposium panelist release paper on intersectional justice

Greyscale photograph of Vincent CervantesVincent Cervantes, a participant on the intersectional justice panel at the Soulforce Symposium: Philadelphia: 2010, released a paper entitled "Critical Witnessing and Multilingualism: Building the Counter Movement." We invited you to download Vincent’s paper and use it to inform your organizing and activism strategies.

Vincent’s paper is the first of many resources which Soulforce will be releasing in connection to the Symposium.

Soulforce to hold rally in Philadelphia

by Matthew E. Pilecki
EDGE Media Network
Original article

LGBT activists from across the country will gather in Philadelphia on Friday, Nov. 5, to rally against homophobia in support of subjugated LGBT youth.
Soulforce, a non-profit that hopes to end political and religious oppression against LGBT people through nonviolent resistance, will sponsor the ‘Life Rally’ in Love Park. The event is part of a two-day initiative , which will include a symposium that is aimed at "debunk[ing] the myths that plague [the national conversation about homosexuality."

The Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, executive director of Soulforce, told EDGE the recent media attention surrounding LGBT teen suicides and Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project offers an opportunity to end bullying once and for all.

"While we completely support the idea of It Gets Better, we also know that young people need tools that help them get better right now, not someday," said Love. "The only good news about the recent focus on teen suicide is that everyone now knows something has to be done. We hope that our symposium is a catalytic event in the lives of individuals and our community so that concrete steps are taken to better support and empower young people."

The idea for the rally came after Jason Connor, community director for Soulforce’s, came out to his family during their annual Equality Ride, a bus tour that addressed anti-LGBT legislation at college campuses across the country. Connor’s Mormon family consequently disowned him, spurring him to address the alarming number of LGBT suicides within the faith-based community.

"He found a way out for himself and wanted to create a safe and vibrant space where we could not only think about our losses but also think about the ways in which we can celebrate our lives," said Love about Connor. "It was his idea to create the rally and our cohort of Equality Riders in Philadelphia joined with him to bring the event into being."

Love works closely with religious traditions to establish safe spaces for LGBT youth and conduct workshops on inclusion even when the places of worship have no intention of changing their ideology. She is confident networking with faith-based organizations can bring reform providing comfort to LGBT youth at odds with their faith.

"Fundamentalist religious belief is at the root of patriarchy and, therefore, at the root of sexism, homophobia, heterosexism, misogyny and the exclusion of LGBTQ people from full citizenship in society and in the church," said Love. "People in the faith-based communities are in the best position to advocate for the elimination of polity and policies within denominations that are harmful to the lives of LGBTQ people. They speak the language of the oppressor while not having to choose to be the oppressor."   

New Jersey lawmakers recently introduced an Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights that would create school safety teams and require annual reporting on bullying instances from school and district administrators. Furthermore, Garden State schools would be graded on how they handle bullying, harassment and intimidation.

While Love believes instances of bullying need to be addressed on an individual basis, she thinks the law will encourage some teens to stand up to their aggressors.

"I believe that we always need a law to enforce what is right when people don’t choose to do what is right in the absence of law," she said. "I also believe that the law is simply a tool to encourage people to think differently-perhaps to hesitate before they commit a crime of bullying. We only stop cruelty and rejection on a one-on-one basis when one person says ‘no more.’ I believe that laws support people who choose to stand up and be courageous and do what is right."

Symposium is three days away!

We are super excited to soon be convening in Philadelphia for the Soulforce Symposium. We hope that you will join us for two important events prior to the Symposium on Friday November, 5th. 

The first of these two events will take place at The William Way Community Center in Center City Philadelphia. There will be a reception at the center from 6-8pm. Free wine, beer, and refreshments will be served. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear music, and to meet and mingle with the staff and board members of Soulforce. The William Way Community Center is located at 1315 Spruce Street - Philadelphia, PA 19107 and is in within walking distance of the LIFE rally.

The second event on Friday will be our LIFE rally at Love Park also in Center City Philadelphia. The rally will commence at 8:30pm. The rally is the city’s response to the heinous amount of LGBTQ suicides and other hate crimes over the last several months. There will be music and local and national speakers. Love Park is located at the corner of 15th and JFK Boulevard. You can RSVP for the rally (although an RSVP is not required to attend) at our Facebook page.

Check back often over the next few days and throughout the symposium for frequent updates and additional content!
Even if you can’t make it to Philadelphia, please help us sponsor future events by donating today.

Life Rally during Soulforce Symposium

Logo for Life Rally. The iconic "LIFE" design from Philadelphia's Love Park with the I in rainbow. Text around the border reads End LGBTQ Suicide! Love Park Philadelphia. Soulforce Symposium. Fri 11.5.10 8:30 PMThe news over the past several weeks has been astounding.

Increasingly, LGBTQ youth are feeling the burdens of an unjust society as they are bullied and taunted for being who they were created to be. Recently, 5 youth made national news after suicides – and the lives of countless other LGBTQ people are gone and unreported.

This must stop!

We must take a stand in solidarity, support and love to let LGBTQ people know they are loved and affirmed, exactly as they are! We must put an end to this systematic oppression that persecutes our LGBTQ friends, family, and loved ones and we must create a better world for ourselves and all those in it

Enough is enough!

Join us on Friday, November 5 at 8:30pm at Love Park in the heart of Downtown Philadelphia as we celebrate life with a rally and a special performance from singer/songwriter Ray Boltz. Find more information on our Facebook event.

This event is one of many taking place during the Soulforce Symposium, an effort to disperse the truth about religion, science, and reparative therapy.

Soulforce will be joining the group Affirmation in San Fransisco on Oct 6th as they rally to end LGBTQ youth suicides.

Even if you can’t attend the symposium or rally please donate so that Soulforce can continue to support the work for equality and full inclusion of all LGBTQ people!

Ray Boltz to perform at LIFE Rally

The accomplished singer/songwriter Ray Boltz will be making a special appearance at the upcoming Soulforce LIFE Rally to be held in Philadelphia. The rally is being held to bring awareness to the staggering number of LGBTQ youth and young adults who are driven to suicide by teasing and relentless bullying. 
This issue is especially prevalent at the moment with five recent suicides making national headlines within the last 3 weeks. Countless  suicides and other hate crimes go unreported each year. 

Please plan to attend the rally and/or support Soulforce financially so that we can sponsor this and other programs. Find more info about the rally on our website and also on our Facebook event page.

You can also donate to help us make all of our programming accessible and sustainable.

Symposium dinner & performance announcement

We are pleased to announce that as part of our Soulfroce Symposium Dinner on Saturday, November 6th in Philadelphia – Peterson Toscano will be performing excerpts from his ground breaking one-man shows in a new segment entitled:  

 Doin’ Time with Peterson Toscano – Just When You Thought it was Safe to Laugh

Peterson Toscano performingSome comedy is so hilarious & insightful that it should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning. Presenting scenes from his acclaimed comedies along with outrageous and probing insights, this variety show with Peterson’s brilliant character portrayals promises to thoroughly entertain as it artfully instructs and invites deeper thinking. The creator of such plays as Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway HouseI Can See Sarah Palin from My Window! and Transfigurations, a play about gender non-conforming Bible charcters,  comically wrestles with privilege, sexism, gender, homophobia, the environment, foreign policy and family values. He may even slip in a dance number!

This performance is included with the dinner fee of only $35! Also, when you purchase a ticket to the dinner, you gain entry into the rest of the Symposium schedule free! Register for the dinner here!

Our three course meal and dinner theater will be held at the Juniper Ballroom in the Historic Dowtown Courtyard by Marriott. Even if you can’t make it to Philadelphia to attend, please pledge your support to this and other Soulforce programs, by donating here!