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Friday, August 12, 2005

HRC, NBJC urge Wilson to "do the right thing"

Black DC minister invited to meet with LGBT leaders

In a press release issued today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC),a case in point of how hate speech can lead to violence rang out like the sounding of a bell whose tone is so insistent it cannot be ignored.

Referring to Reverend Willie Wilson's hate-filled sermon delivered from a DC pulpit in which he demonized all lesbians and particularly lesbians of color from his own community, the Human Rights Campaign along with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) offered an invitation to Rev. Wilson to sit down and talk with community leaders about the growing distance between them.

"We called upon Rev. Wilson to meet with us. We wanted him to sit down with those of us he once embraced as member of the black church, of his black family," said Donna Payne, HRC's Senior Diversity Organizer.

Neither HRC nor the National Black Justice Coalition received a response.

Rev. Wilson is the leader of the Million More March coming up on October 15th in our nation's capital.

Payne spoke out today about a time when she and Wilson worked side-by-side to promote community amd when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people came to hear his message of unity and fairness in a church that welcomed their presence. Her message included her memories of his prior work on the side of justice.

But she spoke out against the hate speech that he spewed forth from his pulpit recently and against the hurt and pain caused in the LGBT community because of his words. She spoke out against his explicit sexual remarks that she felt "disgraced the pulpit and his dignity."

Referring to the consequences of Wilson's sermon as the "ripple effect of hate," Payne also spoke of a DC minister who called Wilson to task in a written reponse. Afterward, Reverend Abena McCray began almost immediately to receive death threats, numerous harrassing phone calls, and a brick through her car window.

Payne also told of Noah's Arc, soon to be the nation's first black LGBT television program, whose production had to be called to a halt due to Nation of Islam protests outside their building.

Her passion for the LGBT community rings clearly throughout her remarks. Her need for a united black community runs through her plea like a strong thread meant to mend the tears of recent days.

I've never met Donna Payne, but I can feel her power emanating from the words on my monitor screen. We should all have that kind of passion for the work we do.

Read her last few words and see that I speak the truth:

Before another rock is thrown, help bring us together. Let's sit down and, as one united community. There is no need to feel threatened. We can demonstrate our willingness to accept responsibility, to change our behavior and to strive to make our communities the best they can be by talking.

We want to meet with you. Stop the hate by using your powerful voice for unity. We are waiting for you to do the right thing.

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