What it looks like to re-imagine love…
On Sunday, February 14th, the very core of the Standing on the Side of Love campaign came to life. Over 100 communities Reimagined Valentine’s Day and celebrated International Standing on the Side of Love Day. It was a day of worship and action. Each community that participated focused on issues that mattered locally and used tactics that would create change.
Do you want to see what this unique day of action looked like? Check out our photo gallery.
Rev. Theresa Novak and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden, Utah, hosted a town hall style meeting addressing the need for local anti-discrimination ordinances to protect members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. Rev. Novak said in the Salt Lake Tribune,
Love has the power to transform not only lives, but also society. It is the message of all religions, and one that we all need to remember if we want to call ourselves people of faith. How we treat each other matters.
In Potsdam, the State University of New York hosted a Reimagining Valentine’s Day event where State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, a supporter of marriage equality spoke. Potsdam Rally Co-Organizer Austin Kenyon was quoted on local television news saying,
This weekend is a symbol, it’s done purposefully, to reimagine Valentine’s Day as a holiday. To reimagine it not as just a holiday of candy and Hallmark cards. But as a day of love and acceptance for everyone.
At First Parish Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist, in Massachusetts, the congregation held a worship service called, “To Haiti, With Love.” They hosted members of the Haitian Community, filled out postcards in support of comprehensive immigration reform, signed up to volunteer at legal clinics helping Haitian immigrants register for temporary protected status. Then, they capped it all off by singing out their love on the steps of the church.
Dozens of congregations made Valentines for elected officials to ask them to stand on the side of love, or for community members, letting their neighbors know that they are not alone in the struggles they face.
Two ministers, one in Maryland and one in Phoenix, publicly declared they would stop signing marriage licenses until all people could marry whom they love.
Perhaps the most daring event held on February 14th, was in Kampala, Uganda. The Ugandan Parliament is considering passing a bill that would make homosexuality illegal, punishable by imprisonment and, in some cases, death. Rev. Mark Kiyimba, the minister serving the two Ugandan Unitarian Universalist congregations, was the key organizer of the conference called, “Standing on the Side of Love: Reimagining Valentine’s Day.”
Because of the risk involved in hosting or attending such a conference, the exact location wasn’t shared until the last minute and was only shared by word of mouth. Still, over 200 people attended. Pastor Kiyimba, whose church members include many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, released a statement to the press saying,
I cannot stand by and watch as my community is exterminated. My church will become illegal and cease to exist if this bill becomes law.
Participants also posted their own videos to the web. In Richmond, Virginia gay and lesbian couples applied for marriage licenses and were rejected.
Rev. Nate Walker of the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia took a page out of Sarah Palin’s book by preaching a Standing on the Side of Love sermon that was written on his hand.
International Standing on the Side of Love Day was an enormous step forward for the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign. We definitively proved that you don’t need a single issue, goal, or tactic to build a movement. All you need is a singular value that thousands of people will boldly weave into the fabric of their communities. That value is love and boy do we have it.
Don’t forget to check out our photo gallery, to get a sense for how many communities across the nation participated. You can add your photos there as well!