A coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists and their friends and family protested discrimination by the Salvation Army last Sunday, Dec. 16 at the Hancock Building Plaza, the site of a Salvation Army display. An earlier protest was held at State and Randolph Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.
The local Salvation Army admits donations are down 15% this season compared to last year, but they attribute the downfall to donations being averted to Sept. 11 relief efforts.
"One ought not think that all of the funds raised go to support people in need," commented Donna Blaha, president of the Glenview chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays, one of three sponsoring organizations. "This year the charity, in reality a fundamentalist church, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists and attorneys to attempt to get Bush and the Congress to gut ordinances protecting our children against discrimination," she concluded. Blaha was referring to the Salvation Army offer of support to the Bush administration's so-called "faith-based initiative" which would funnel tax dollars to church-related charities.
"In the year 2001, the Salvation Army wouldn't dream of insulting Jews, African-Americans, women or Latinos and expect people to continue to support their organization. We are putting them on notice that gay people will not agree to second class treatment either," commented CABN's Bob Schwartz. "And of course we're asking the public to support our drive for equality by shunning the Salvationist's discrimination and contributing to a charity that helps the needy but without hurting gays," he concluded.
Since Oct. 6, 2001 when the campaign was announced, CABN, Glenview PFLAG and the Great Lakes District of the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches have also distributed protest cards for deposit into the SA's contribution kettles, under the slogan, "Don't Give to the Kettle of Hate." Other groups endorsing the Dec. 16 protest include A-Zone, Anti-Racist Action/Chicago, Equality Illinois, Northwestern University Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Alliance, Pathfinders Prevention Education Fund, Pride at Work/Chicago, Queer to the Left, and Sangat.
Call ( 773 ) 878-3697 or CABNstopthehate@aol.com