2018-10-11 / Front Page

Outpouring of love counters WBC protest

By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com


Local police officer stand between Westboro Baptist Church protestors and the counter protest on both sides of Holly Road on Friday. More details and photos on pages 8 and 9. 
Photo by Paula K. Schmidt Local police officer stand between Westboro Baptist Church protestors and the counter protest on both sides of Holly Road on Friday. More details and photos on pages 8 and 9. Photo by Paula K. Schmidt GRAND BLANC — In addition to dozens of law enforcement and security officers from the Michigan State Police down to Mott Campus security on bikes, a couple hundred protestors gathered in counter protest to a small five-person contingent of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Kansas who came to the city to protest the policy of inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) persons in the school district’s homecoming court, openly, as far back as 2016 when transgender student Kourt Frame was elected.

Frame said, “Seeing everyone come out and be so supportive of me and the LGBT+ community was so completely heartwarming. I was truly touched by how many people showed up to the counter. The counter protest didn’t feel so much like a protest as it did just one big love fest. Everyone was out there from all walks of life for all different reasons and we were all just spreading love!”


Photos by Paula K. Schmidt Photos by Paula K. Schmidt Residents across the state agreed to not give the WBC a ‘pass’, and while law enforcement created an environment of separation of the two groups, counter protestors definitely scored their side a ‘win’, outnumbering the church, called by some a ‘hate group’ about 50 to one.

“I think we’re winning,” said Matt Higley of Redford, Michigan.

City Police Chief Brian Lipe said, “Unfortunately, over the last few years in other parts of our country we have seen too many of these types of protests become unruly or violent. But today, I couldn’t be more proud of our community. What I witnessed today was exactly what I hoped to see from our Grand Blanc Community and it is just another reason why I feel so privileged to serve the citizens of this city. In response to Westboro Baptist Church’s messages of hate, several hundred members of the Grand Blanc community came out to counter-protest, in a peaceful manner, and support diversity and spread a message of love and inclusion. It was a moving sight to behold.”

Prior to the arrival of the WBC, district superintendent Clarence Garner, deputy superintendent Trevor Alward, some board members and other school staff came out to watch the action. Later, Garner submitted a statement saying, “What I would like to say to THANKS to all of the law enforcement agencies that came together to ensure everyone’s safety and I could not be prouder of how our community came together to support our students, staff, and each other. Grand Blanc understands the meaning of community and unity, and today they peaceful demonstrated that for all to see. Thank you Grand Blanc!”

During the counter protest, songs were sung, and chants were chanted, and passing cars who honked in support were wildly cheered. One anonymous Grand Blanc mom said she came to the counter protest “Because love should be louder than hate.” She has a student in the high school and one in a middle school. She was with a young woman who said she was originally from Connecticut and moved here with her family when she was young and wanted to support the school. Another woman in the group from St. Clair Shores said she had a niece in the school system.

The roadside filled with a variety of people, including musician “Dream Fox” and his friend Gerard D’Lor who said they were part of a Flint music group and entertained with guitar performances. More than one person brought and sounded the ceremonial Jewish ram’s horn known as the Shofar.

Pastor Adam Besso of the Pontiac “Armor of Light” ministry said the bible rejects the notion that you can use God’s name in a message of hate. “God and Jesus do not hate any people. “ He said the Christian church now needs to make a distinction between hating the sin versus the sinner.

Friends of Kourt Frame, the local transgender team who was nominated to homecoming court two years ago were on hand, as well as complete strangers, Colleen and Connor Tinnin, who came from Clio just to support him.

“I saw him on TV and thought he needed our support, Colleen said. “Grand Blanc Is not like that.” Meeee



Photos by Paula K. Schmidt Photos by Paula K. Schmidt


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