Contact: Rafael McDonnell
Resource Center Dallas is turning a scheduled protest the evening of July 9 (Friday) by members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church into a fundraiser to buy the Center a new ice machine. The church is known for its protests at military funerals, Jewish and Catholic places of worship, and organizations supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community among other locations.
“Our ice machine broke several months ago. We’ve had to get ice for our weekday hot meals program from our partners at Caven Enterprises and Cathedral of Hope, but it’s not a long-term solution,” said Bret Camp, associate executive director for health and medical services at the Center. “Replacing it is an unbudgeted capital expense in challenging economic times. Community groups and individuals have offered to help defray the expenses, but it will cost over $3000 to replace the ice machine with an energy-efficient, higher-capacity model.”
The Center is asking the North Texas community to donate an amount for each minute the protesters plan to picket both the Center and Beth El Binah, a mainstream Reform Jewish congregation with a longtime LGBT outreach that meets at the Center. For example, at a dollar a minute, the scheduled 30-minute protest from 6:15-6:45 pm on July 9 would lead to a $30 donation, or a 50 cent a minute commitment would lead to a $15 donation. Donations would first go to buying a new ice machine, with any money above and beyond that to the Center’s general operating funds.
“The protesters have been known to abandon their protests when they’re turned into a fundraiser,” Camp added. “Whether the church shows up or not, this is a way for the North Texas community to stand with us against hate and help us with a timely need.”
Church members are also planning protests at several other North Texas sites, including the Holocaust Museum in the Dallas West End, the Texas Jewish Post and Cathedral Guadalupe.
Since the early 1990’s, the Center’s hot meals program serves a nutritious lunch to more than 100 HIV-positive clients Monday through Friday. For more information or to donate, go to the Center’s website, www.rcdallas.org, and look for the banner ad “Hell Freezes Over—Donate to Counter-Protest Against Hate.”