It was partly cloudy with grey clouds wrapping the summit of Mt. Si and sending tendrils of fog down the snow capped sides. A chill mountain wind near freezing greeted the early gatherers numbering between 80 and 100 as they unpacked supportive, positive messages on posterboard and unrolled rainbow flags in front of Mt. Si High School. Lucinda Hauser and Jane Storrs, both parents of children at Mt. Si High School passed out premade signs with messages of support and multicolored armbands. I carried a rainbow flag on a pole and wore my rainbow hat (my flag is in the first photo after the jump, but I'm not since I am taking the picture).  We had TV cameras out filming us and more TV helicopters than an accident on I-5 during morning rush hour.

The morning rally organized by Lucinda and Jane was explicitly to show support to the students–GSA and otherwise–participating in the Day of Silence at Mt. Si High School, and in recognition of their silence, we conducted the rally in silence from 7am to 8am. About 6 out of every 10 cars that went by were honking and waving. We cheerily waved back, despite the cold chewing at our bare fingers. Only an exceptional few cars (I saw only 3 all morning) did a thumbs down gesture to our waves.

More after the jump

The rally was split into two parts, one on sidewalk adjoining the road on both sides of the school. Students cheered and waved, sometimes bouncing across their parent's lap as they tried to drive to wave to us. The students knew we were there, they knew what was coming later, they knew they had the support of the community, their parents, and assorted LGBT and allies that took the time to drive to the mountain community an hour east of Seattle. It was truly a blessing to see the relief and joy in their faces at such an expression of support on the cold grey morning.

There were no confrontations with the support rally. Police in about 5 different cars cruised by almost every couple of minutes, alert to a trouble that never came–hearing our silence resonate off the mountainside. Christian mothers, preachers, and clergy stood shoulder-to-shoulder with past students, GLSEN members, Safe Schools Coalition  members, PFLAG members, and other allies all decked in colorful clothing and rainbow flags.

Hutch's protest was much different. There were protesters yelling at students–yes, you heard that right–grown adults yelling intimidations at children. There were insulting and offensive signs, and political messages that probably many of the students either didn't care about or didn't even understand. And where were we? At the behest of GLSEN and Lucinda and Jane we were at the Snoqualmie Library having a press conference with all 5 local TV stations, the Seattle Times newspaper, and the local Snoqualmie newspaper (and a few others that didn't identify themselves). And how many of the Hutch faithful Prayer Warriors came? Less than 80 according to media estimates. Yep, less than the parents and allies that had gathered earlier that morning.

The bottom photo is the panel put together by GLSEN of two local clergy, a local businessman, and 3 parents of children at Mt Si High School, who collectively explained to the press that you can be Christian and not hate gays and lesbian, that they felt the Day of Silence exactly mirrored their Christian principles of tolerance and acceptance, non-violence and an end to bullying. They answered questions from the media about how they felt Hutch's interference in their local community by threatening to bus in a thousand people not from the community taught exactly the lesson about the need for teaching tolerance. They talked about how the intimidation threat brought them together to stand up be counted even though otherwise they would much rather not have been on TV that morning. It was one of the most moving scenes of caring, compassionate parents that one could ever be privileged to witness. Hutch totally missed the snap, and the ball rolled into the opposing end zone and was covered by a courageous group of parents and children in the Snoqualmie Valley Mt. Si High School. 

ShannonB

ShannonB

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