Light the Night Seeks Groups to Stand Up Against Hate

Light the Night Seeks Groups to Stand Up Against Hate

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, June 1, 2012 ed)

Ferndale Pride organizers are looking for nonprofit, student, and other community groups that would like to be part of Light the Night Against Hate on Friday, June 15.

The event will bring together diverse groups of people in a show of solidarity against hatred, bullying and intolerance.  “This isn’t just an LGBT issue. Anybody can be the victim of hate,” said Light the Night co-chair Cary Watkins.  “We want to raise awareness and bring everybody in the community together.”

Light the Night is a walking tour of Downtown Ferndale, with stops along the way to meet people from diverse backgrounds.  The size of the walk will depend on the groups that participate.  The tentative plan is for walkers to meet at Schiffer Park (corner of W. 9 Mile and Plananvon) and to walk through Downtown Ferndale with candles and glow sticks, stopping along the way to mingle and share support.

modern taxTransgender Michigan, National Organization for Women, Detroit Latin@s, and Affirmations are among those who have already signed up.  NO H8 will be sending materials and there will be a place for people to take No H8 pictures.

Watkins introduced the event to the Ferndale Pride lineup because she wanted something educational and historically symbolic.  “Pride events are not just about bar-hopping and fun.  We have a responsibility to educate.”

Ferndale City Councilperson Dan Martin is co-chair for the committee.  “This is a good chance to demonstrate to people the moral fibre of Ferndale,” Martin said.  “It shows that here in Ferndale we are willing to take a stand and willing to have conversations.  And a lot of people, we hope, will stand with us.”

The event will take place in the evening from 8:30pm – 10 pm and groups will be assigned a location.  They’re encouraged to bring literature and to create displays that share cultural awareness or that are symbolic of ending bullying, discrimination, and hate against everyone.  Cultural, ethnic, religious, LGBT, and other affinity-based groups are invited to attend.  This is the first year for the event, so it’s unknown how many will attend, though some estimates are in the 200-500 range.

“It is time to stand up against hate, and to get all groups who have been victims of hate standing up together.  Here in Ferndale is the Vincent Chinn memorial in the median of 9 and Woodward.  This is a perfect example.  He was attacked by a group of men because they thought he was Japanese.  This was in the 80s when people were blaming the Japanese for taking American jobs.  And the thing about it is that Chinn wasn’t even Japanese, he was Chinese.  Its senseless hate and dehumanization like that that has to stop.

“We can stop it by continuing to talk about it.”

Ferndale Pride takes place the weekend of June 15-17,  not to be confused with Motor City Pride, which is in Hart Plaza in Detroit on June 2 and 3.

To get involved with Light the Night, contact Cary Watkins at cary.watkins.walk@gmail.com.  For more information on Ferndale Pride, check out www.ferndalepride.com.

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