photo credit: Marilyn Humphries, Bay Windows
Roy Owens had, well, about as much support as I expected.
A little before 11:00 this morning, I stood at the bus turnaround where Roy Owens' march was set to start. I had two people with me who had come out to support me and three individuals from the media, who also were clearly supportive of our group and our cause, and who inconspicuously added to our group. We were six people in total.
By 11:10, Roy and his group had not started their march. Two police officers were present for the event, sitting in their parked cars wondering why exactly they had been hired. Roy had signs saying things like "UP WITH HOPE, DOWN WITH DOPE" and "HOPE FOR OUR CHILDREN." I had some posterboard and markers in my car, and we thought that although there was not a message being presented that needed protesting, we might make some signs with messages advocating support for all children, or signs that identified particular members of our group as GLBT-identified individuals in support of families and community. The need didn't arise though. By 11:30, Roy's group had amassed four members, and Roy told a Bay Windows reporter/photographer that they might start marching around 12:30 or so. A police officer stated that she was told the march would start at 11:00 and she seemed a little irritated.
I was interviewed by reporters from Bay Windows, Spare Change News, and The Boston People's Voice. I was photographed by Bay Windows. At about 11:45, the two community supporters and I left with one of the reporters and went and got breakfast. One reporter left, and one stayed behind to see if anything did actually take place.
I'd like to thank the two individuals who came and showed support, and the third individual who met up with us shortly afterward, as well as the individuals from the media who showed support and who work in the service of making people aware of events like these taking place in our community. I'd also like to thank everyone who spread the word about the event and the dozens of friends and strangers who spoke to me and said they wished to be present but could not make it. Although our presence didn't end up being necessary, the event was a success.
Roy Owens did not succeed in sending the message that Roxbury (or Boston, or Massachusetts) is a place where messages of homophobia go unopposed. He and his group may well have marched after we left. Groups of four or five people walk around neighborhoods spreading misinformation all the time. A few people may listen. Most don't.
A "community march" with a uncountered message of homophobia did not happen, which means that the morning was a success. Roy Owens likely did have more supporters at the rally at his church this afternoon, but that's fine. It isn't my place to go into someone else's church and tell people what to believe. I would be a hypocrite to not honor his right to have his beliefs while he is inside his own church. The community, however, is as much ours as it is his, and I am glad people came out this morning and expressed that.