Legacy Project with Equality House to Showcase LGBT Contributions
CHICAGO, IL - April 7, 2014 - This coming weekend, the Legacy Project will officially unveil its first-ever satellite-installation at Equality House in Topeka, Kansas - across the street from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. The event is part of a series of planned weekend festivities - following GLSEN’s National "Day of Silence" on April 11 - to protest the bullying and harassment faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) students and their supporters.
The grand opening of the Legacy Project installation at Equality House will begin with a two-hour reception starting at noon on Saturday April 12. Following the open house, those gathered will join the anti-bullying march to the Kansas State Capital, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church.
"We’re very proud and excited to be part of this important occasion," said Victor Salvo, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Legacy Project in making the announcement. "This ground-breaking initiative in America’s heartland is a natural extension of our continuing mission to redress the redaction of LGBT figures and events from history, which is central to the Legacy Project’s comprehensive strategy to challenge the ignorance which fuels anti-gay bullying."
The partnership with Equality House began in the spring of 2013 when the Legacy Project honored Aaron Jackson for his bold and pioneering work in creating Equality House. After touring the Legacy Walk in person, Jackson proposed the Legacy Project’s first-ever exhibit outside of Chicago be located at Equality House in the shadow of the Westboro Baptist Church - renowned world-wide for its unbridled anti-gay hatred and "God Hates Fags" mantra. After nearly a year of planning, the installation of the new permanent display in Kansas was completed in mid-March 2014.
"Most people learn about people like themselves all the time," said Salvo. "But the selective editing done to the lives of LGBT historic figures forces LGBT youth to grow up without any historically significant role models - leaving them unaware of the contributions people just like them have been making for centuries, unable to see that they are among the newest generation of a long line of gifted people who have made a difference in the world we all share."
"Public ignorance about the accomplishments of LGBT people forces sexual minorities to exist in a void - socially isolated, culturally marginalized, without historical relevance, and subject to the political and cultural biases that permeate our society - leaving them vulnerable to the violence such ignorance can incite."
"Recent statistics have revealed that every hour fifty (50) teens attempt suicide in the United States. The majority of them are LGBT youth bombarded by the message that they are ’less than’ others," continued Salvo. "That is why the Legacy Project is urgently committed to making sure our kids know that people like them matter - and have always mattered - even if nobody has ever bothered to tell them. The significance and symbolism of bringing that message to the doorstep of the Westboro Baptist Church - of all places - should be lost on no one."
The Legacy Project is funded entirely by donations. Its permanent exhibit at Equality House will be open to the public year-round, free of charge.
Included in the Equality House installation in Topeka are tributes to:
Jane Addams | Social Justice Pioneer
Bayard Rustin | Civil Rights Visionary
Alan Turing | The Father of Computer Science
Alexander the Great | King of Macedonia/Greatest Soldier of All Time
David Kato | Ugandan LGBT Activist/Martyr for LGBT Civil Rights
Frances Perkins | U.S. Secretary of Labor/Architect of FDR’s "New Deal" Fr. Mychal Judge | Roman Catholic Priest/"The Saint of 9/11"
Leonard Bernstein | Renowned Conductor of the New York Philharmonic Sally Ride | First U.S. Woman in Space
?Michelangelo | World Famous Artist and Sculptor
Tchaikovsky | Legendary Composer
Barbara Jordan | Iconic U.S. Congresswoman
George Washington Carver | Renowned Agronomist
Eleanor Roosevelt | First Lady/Influential Activist and Diplomat
Two Spirit People | Indigenous North American LGBT People
Sumner Welles | Asst. Secretary of State/Founder of N.A.T.O.
Baron Von Steuben | Secretary General of the American Revolutionary War Josephine Baker| World War II Hero/U.S. Civil Rights Activist