I was proud of UMass when they switched to wireless internet. I was proud of UMass when they brought the Goo Goo Dolls for Spring Concert. I was proud of UMass when the basketball team made the NCAA tournament. But I have NEVER been as proud of UMass as I am today.
In my opinion, family isn’t only about blood. Family is about unconditional support. Derrick Gordon is a member of the UMass family, and today we showed an amazing display of support for not only Derrick, but the entire LGBTQ community. The crowd grew from tens to hundreds to thousands and (get ready to be shocked, world), there was not one act of violence or unruly behavior. Of course, something like this will never get as much attention as a crowd that involved riot police, but if you ask me, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need or expect the rest of the country to feel what we felt today.
The chills were insatiable. Hearing thousands of students join together in singing “Where is the Love” and chants about how discrimination and inequality are not welcome here brought on a feeling that I’m not sure I even have a word for. Directly in front of me was a family that consisted of two mothers and three small children. Each child had their own homemade sign proclaiming “Gay is Okay” “LOVE” and “We Love Our Moms”. You just can’t beat that. It’s impossible to fear for the future when these children, no more than 8 years old, are already so far ahead of our generation and those older than us.
At the end of the rally, I made the trip down to see these monsters that call themselves a church. Well, let’s just say they were a bit outnumbered. Each of the five of them that showed up looked extremely uncomfortable as they tried to hold about 4 signs each about how America is doomed and other things that I won’t even repeat. They were shouting, but I couldn’t hear a word they said. Their hateful protest was drowned out by the other students who stood, brightly colored, in support of this family. They wanted us to be outraged, to react violently. We didn’t give them what they wanted. After about a half an hour they gave up. Call me crazy, but I don’t think they’ll be back.
I’ve never been so proud to call myself a Minuteman. Today, we showed the Westboro Baptist Church and anyone else who shares their ignorant mindset that we are not a family to be messed with. Hate is simply not welcome here. Go UMass.