SF State has heart in spite of Prop 8
November 14, 2008 11:20 AM
For some members of the SF State community, love is the best way to counter hate.
Paper hearts of every color bearing messages of affection and statements opposing Proposition 8 lined the lamp posts and the stage area in Malcolm X Plaza on Wednesday as campus organizations like The Safe Place, and Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance abuse Education (CEASE) put together a rally for the campus community to express their feelings on the recently passed gay marriage ban.
"I was getting feedback from students, staff and faculty on how hurt they were about [Proposition 8]," said Karla Castillo, a prevention education specialist who planned and coordinated the event with different organizations on campus. "It really touched me, and I realized we needed a space for dealing with these feelings."
Castillo then connected with The Safe Place and CEASE, as well as LGBT-oriented organizations on campus such as the Queer Alliance, the Asians and Queers United for Awareness (AQUA), and the Educational and Referral Organization for Sexuality (EROS), to organize the event within a week after the elections.
Students, faculty and staff all took part in writing on and posting up hearts with messages like "Yes on equality, no on hate," and "No kind of love should be discriminated against." Others posted photos of themselves with their same-sex partners; a marriage certificate was taped to one of the posts at one point.
A handmade poster bearing a message from the Queer Alliance lined one wall, thanking the entire campus for "love, kindness and support in our struggle for equality. We are grateful for having a community that allows us to live and love out loud."
Later on in the day, an "open mic" event was held in the plaza, with students and faculty going up onstage and expressing their feelings through speeches and poetry.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to express some love after all the hate," said Michael Ritter from faculty counseling and psychological services, who posted up a heart containing pictures of him and his partner. "I hope the outcome of this will cause people to accept all forms of love and bring down barriers of prejudice."
Renee Stephens, an admissions counselor and Raza studies instructor, posted up a picture of herself and her wife when they were children. "We met in elementary school, and we've been married for seven years," she said. "The good news now is that we have a lot of support from people who initially were unaware of the severity of this issue."
This method of protesting the passing of Proposition 8 came as a sharp contrast to the angry backlash of rallies, marches and strikes occurring all over the city since the election on Nov. 4. Three lawsuits and complaints against churches and other religious organizations have been filed in the past week in an effort to overturn the gay marriage ban.
"We really want to spread awareness of what the issue is," said student Vincent Lam from Students for a Safe Campus. "This is a continuous struggle, and we want to keep the momentum going."
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