Groups Gather at UMass to Support, Protest LGBTQ Community
AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — An estimated two thousand people gathered at UMass to show support for the LGBTQ community.
According to organizers, the event, called UMassUnited, asked that the community come together to “rally together in an expression of solidarity and unity.”
The large rally began at the Fine Arts Center, then moved to the Student Union.
At the same, five protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church gathered near the Southwest residential area to protest the community’s support of UMass basketball player Derrick Gordon, who recently came out as gay.
Students like Alexandra Russell showed their support for equal rights, “We are aware that the Westboro Baptist Church is coming here to protest, our rally is not a counter protest, it is more us standing in solidarity with Derrick and the rest of the LGBTQ community,” says Russell.
Professor Ferd Wulkan,of the Mass. Society of Professors says the UMass group is sending a unified message,”This is an inclusive campus, we don’t hate anybody, we welcome people who come out whether they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, whatever their orientation, whatever their race, their political affiliation,” says Prof. Wulkan.
The Westboro Baptist Church group had only 5 members at UMass.
They left without engaging the UMass students or talking to reporters who were kept away for safety reasons by police.
Students weren’t surprised,” They’re closed-minded people, they’re not going to change their mind, they’re not going to want to talk to people, they’ll hold their signs and then run off,”says Kendall Tinscon.
Student Stephanie Donaghy says UMass showed its strength today as an inclusive campus,” UMass is a great community, and I’m kind of surprised they showed up and tried to take us on, but like you saw they got in their cars and drove away, because we’re UMass proud,” says Donaghy.