Saturday, June 18, 2005

Emergency Town Hall Meeting

This is from the seminole heights blog - I have just cut and pasted in order to spread the word

Emergency Town Hall Meeting

I received this via email. An important event in Seminole Heights addressing an significant injustice countywide. See Ernest Hooper's article on the controversy.

Attend the Emergency Town Hall Meeting in Tampa - 6:30 PM Monday, June 20th. See below for directions and spread the word to others in Tampa. In an outrageous act of bigotry, the Hillsborough County Commission voted yesterday to bar county agencies from recognizing or participating in Gay Pride Month or any events that portray gay people in a positive light. Our help is needed!

Now we are hearing about similar censorship efforts being launched in other counties.

The policy is an attack on gay people, an insult to the entire community and a national embarrassment for our state. This policy is discriminatory and will must challenge it.

The commission’s actions came on the heels of a dispute regarding the removal of a display at the West Gate Regional Library highlighting gay and lesbian literature. The display was created in recognition of Gay Pride month.

Out of hundreds of library visitors, only three people complained about the content of the main-lobby display over the course of several days. The county’s chief librarian, Jean Peters, visited the library and demanded the display be removed. When the removal of the books sparked an outcry, the library allowed a much smaller display to be shown in the back of the library.

Commissioner Ronda Storms, a longtime anti-gay antagonist, introduced the policy. And despite the dozens of us who crowded the chambers in opposition, the Commission passed the proposal. It prevents Hillsborough county agencies from giving equal recognition to local events that present gay people in a positive light, including Gay Pride Month. To make things even worse, the commission went on to vote 6-1 to prevent the new policy from being repealed except by a super majority vote of the commission following a public hearing.

Before casting the only "No" vote, Commissioner Kathy Castor stated "Government should not be in the business of promoting discrimination."

An Emergency Town Hall Meeting will be held this Monday, June 20th at 6:30 PM. The location is the MCC Church at 408 E Cayuga Street in Tampa. Take I-275 to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. exit and head west 1/10 mile. Turn right onto North Seminole Ave. and go 1/3 mile to E. Cayuga, MCC is on the right.