School cancels Black History Month event with lesbian speaker after protests
A school in North Carolina reportedly cancelled a Black History Month event with a lesbian speaker after parents complained.
Immaculata Catholic School in Durham sent a letter to parents on Thursday (February 7) explaining that the school would be closed on Friday as a number of groups had planned protests over a Black History Month event it planned to host, reports WRAL.
In the letter, pastor Christopher VanHaight said that several organisations intended to demonstrate at the school because they were against Durham City councillor Vernetta Alston, a lesbian, speaking at the event.
“As a pastor, I cannot place our Imaculata students into this contentious environment,” wrote VanHaight, reports WRAL.
Alston, a former pupil, posted an open letter on Twitter claiming that she and her colleagues “were uninvited to the school’s Black History Month celebration and that the event was altogether cancelled.”
Black History Month event with lesbian speaker allegedly cancelled over protests
“Immaculata is a religious institution and I believe strongly in the freedom to believe and worship how one chooses, even if a belief conflicts with something fundamental to my own life,” wrote Alston.
“That said, adherence to that basic principle means that I can freely say that the church, by depriving the students at Immaculata of the chance to honor black history, and in doing so, condemning the lives and rights of the LGTBQ community, is sending a sad, regressive, and life-altering message to our children.”
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She added: “Let us use this moment to embrace the spirit of Black History Month and your celebration by letting the sacrifices we are being asked to make right now motivate us to examine our values, stand up for all the things we believe in even when we differ, and discover the strength in our shared history.”
School campus closes after Black History Month event with lesbian speaker is cancelled
Immaculata Catholic School has released no public statement over the event.
However, the school’s website states that the school campus is closed on Friday (February 8).
“I can freely say that the church, by depriving the students at Immaculata of the chance to honor black history, and in doing so, condemning the lives and rights of the LGTBQ community, is sending a sad, regressive, and life-altering message to our children.”
—Durham City councillor Vernetta Alston
It also states that the “African American Heritage Celebration/Friday Morning Prayer” planned on February 8 is cancelled.
PinkNews has contacted Immaculata Catholic School and Alston for comment.