In an open letter, Astraea grantee partner Center for Artistic Revolution of Arkansas describes the successful campaign to pressure a bigoted school board vice president to resign after posting comments on Facebook that called for more LGBT teens to commit suicide.
From Center for Artistic Revolution (Little Rock, Arkansas)
This past week has been a firestorm of controversy, a fire ignited by the horrible statements made on Facebook by Midland School Board Vice-President Clint McCance that called for gay kids to commit suicide.
After a few days of intense organizing working to secure Mr. McCances resignation, CAR went to Pleasant Plain, Arkansas. Our purpose was to put more pressure on the school board and Mr. McCance to ensure that he resigned. We conducted a vigil at the Midland High School commemorating the lives of the 11 teenagers who took their lives in September as well as all those who have killed themselves because of being tormented by remarks much the same as those of Mr. McCance.
Thirty-five LGBTQ and ally community members stood together in the cold morning wind, most without jackets holding their memorial signs as well as signs that called for Mr. McCances resignation. In our meeting with the school superintendent and the school board president we promised to continue to return to Pleasant Plain until Mr. McCance resigned. And late last night, on the Anderson Cooper show, he did just that; he resigned.
We won! By working together – standing fast, standing brave, and standing publicly, we won! We were determined; already the plans had been made to return to Pleasant Plain and we were committed to returning day after day until he resigned. Thank you so much to all who participated in this campaign. We know that so many of you were calling and writing. And wed like to especially thank those who were able to make the trip to Pleasant Plain. We must be seen, we must be heard, we must continue to have dialog.
Still, there is so much more to be done. Here in Arkansas LGBTQ students or those who “appear” to be LGBTQ have experienced verbal harassment, been tripped, pushed, slapped, robbed, chased, sexually assaulted and in some cases beaten terribly. There have been suicide attempts. LGBTQ youth who are bullied are at a greater risk for quitting school, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior and homelessness. Every student deserves the right to be protected in school!
We hope that you will join with CAR and other concerned community members and help us not only make our schools safer for ALL students, but to continue the important mission of securing Fairness and Equality for ALL Arkansans.
Channel 7 News
The Arkansas Times
McCance has resigned