At Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, hate has unfortunately long been on the agenda: specifically, the church has taken a vicious stand against LGBTQ rights. One of their recent targets is the repeal of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which means that openly gay men and women can now serve in the armed forces. Their opposition to the repeal has even extended to protesting at the funerals of American military personnel.
However, as Principal Hardy pointed out, there is balance in the world. Planting Peace, a non-profit organization with the goal of spreading peace around the world, bought the house across the street from the church and applied a unique paint job: the rainbow colours of the Pride flag. The house now serves as the resource centre for all Planting Peace equality and anti-bullying initiatives.
“This is a reminder that, for every bigoted, shortsighted action, there are people committed to openness, equality, and hope,” Principal Hardy said.
This sign of hope is not limited to Kansas. For example, a giant rainbow has been erected in a town square in Poland, where many Catholics have struggled with accepting homosexuality. Since its installation, it has been defaced and even set on fire, but the rainbow continues to be rebuilt.
The April 10 assembly took place on the Day of Pink, the international day against bullying, discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia in schools. Greenwood students were encouraged to wear pink to honour the day, and the assembly featured a sea of pink shirts, scarves, hats, and accessories. The Day of Pink leads into Greenwood’s Diversity Week, which runs from April 15-19.
“Many years ago, students and staff decided that the best way to understand diversity is to educate people, and that’s why Diversity Week started,” Principal Hardy said.
“As the example of Topeka shows, awareness, openness, and equality are not always present,” he said. “At Greenwood, you’re fortunate to be a part of a forward-thinking community that encourages and accepts differences of many different kinds. Diversity Week is an opportunity for us all to learn about, and remain open to, the differences that exist in our school, and all over the world.”