Community Meeting in the Face of Hate Speech

Tonight, Vermont CARES is joining many other organizations and individuals to respond to messages of hate directed against the Jewish and LGBTQ communities of Vermont.  On the eve of implementation of Vermont’s marriage equity law, our state is convening a meeting to share affirmation of human equality, free & fair speech, and a positive response to hatemongering.  This is a direct, unified, and strong response to visitors from outside of our state with intentions to spread misinformation and bigotry.  (See Burlington Free Press for details of planned protests across Vermont  http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200990822012

We are joining this forum because homophobia is tied in so many ways to the stigma that still surrounds HIV and AIDS; for many who can’t see past myths through to the medical and social, being LGBTQ and living with HIV are intrinsically linked.  While we at Vermont CARES know that hate toward the LGBTQ community directly impacts attitudes toward our neighbors with HIV, we also know people with HIV and AIDS have been catalysts for social and individual change.  The myths of HIV, when turned on their heads, are really lessons of empathy, compassion, and humanity. 

Details of this forum in support of the Jewish and LGBTQ (and HIV and all!) commuities affected by tomorrow’s planned protests are:

A Community Meeting of Solidarity in the Face of Hate Speech

Monday / August 31, 2009 / 7:30pm

First Congregational Church in Burlington

38 South Winooski Avenue, Burlington

Thank you for your support of people with HIV, and for the activism, advice, and strength that makes such support possible.  ~ Vermont CARES

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