(Crystal Proxmire, The Ferndale 115 News, June 19, 2012)
When volunteers got together to plan the second year of Ferndale Pride, they knew they wanted to not only celebrate diversity but to educate people about the discrimination and hatred that people are subjected to just because of who they are.
Light the Night Against Hate was a demonstration of love and truth that spread up and down 9 Mile Road in Downtown Ferndale, Various groups claimed stations and spoke to walkers about what it is like to walk in their shoes. The June 15th event attracted about 300 people, who set out in groups of about ten at a time to hear the speakers.
Representatives from Common Ground, Transgender Michigan, The Vincent Chinn Society, Michigan AIDS Coalition and other organizations took part and the stroll ended with No H8 photos taken at Affirmations.
Cary Watkins Chaired the event, which is one of many individual projects that made Ferndale Pride unique.
“It’s time to stand up against hate, and to get all groups who have been victims of hate standing up together,” said Councilperson Dan Martin. “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.”
To hear some of the Light the Night speeches, check out the video below:
Note: An earlier version stated the Dan Martin and Cary Watkins were the co-chairs, but it is only Watkins. Martin was among the volunteers.