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EQLOCO Leadership to Join the Interfaith Bridges Vigil

Community Responds to South Riding Hate Graffiti - You Are Invited

December 5, 2022

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA — Friends, Over the weekend, a local shopping center in South Riding was graffitied in an apparent act of hatred and bigotry. Leaders from Equality Loudoun will be joining with local elected officials, non-profit organizations, police, and other community leaders to support the vigil standing against the blatant hate shown in our community. As part of our LGBTQ+ and allied community, you are invited to join in taking a stand against the vulgar ideas of anti-Semitism, queerphobia, racism, and bigotry. The history of discrimination and bigotry in Loudoun is one that is known all too well to those marginalized communities affected by it. Unfortunately, many continue to think these ideas and efforts are far behind us and that Loudoun County is leading the way into an equitable and inclusive future. While our community has made strides, there is still so much to be done. For us to achieve a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we must recognize that those people in our community who act with ignorance and hatred are still very much working to harm our community and drag us backwards. In recent years, we have seen a resurgence of a very vocal minority who have attempted to manipulate some in our community using falsehoods and dangerous rhetoric. We have seen vicious attacks against the African-American community, the LGBTQ+ community, and the Jewish community under the guise of stopping CRT, ending gender ideology, and preserving religious freedom. What some call dog whistles sound like blaring alarms to our communities. The recent shooting at Club Q is only the latest in a string of actual attacks on our queer community, which GLAAD has recently shown by tracking over 120 threats of violence against drag or LGBTQ+ events in the last 11 months alone. We must join together. We must stand together. Our community must know that we will not stand for such an act and that the ideals of this perpetrator are not accepted in Loudoun County. We must show the hateful they are alone. We must push back on this rising tide of discrimination, violence, and extremism. For the benefit of our children, for our families, for the benefit of our most vulnerable communities, and for the benefit of all. Please join us if you are able. Our voices will not be silent. December 5 | 7 pm | 43090 Peacock Market Plaza, South Riding, VA Please see the email from Rev. David Milam for further details. ------------------ We have become aware of hate-laden graffiti being written on a closed grocery store in South Riding over the weekend. The graffiti not only evokes the worst examples of hate-filled rhetoric but does so broadly demeaning a wide range of targeted peoples. Wonderfully, Loudoun4All has already organized and countered the hate messages with a gathering of affirmation and love earlier today. Wishing to add to their initial event, Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES is reaching out to our many partners and friends for a Vigil to be held tomorrow evening at 7:00 pm at 43090 Peacock Market Plaza in South Riding (which is at the corner of Tall Cedars Parkway and South Riding Blvd) Our goal in the vigil is to demonstrate strengths that are ours through being active in making bonds and keeping trust with one another. We have learned lessons of resiliency also to draw upon of generations upon whose shoulders we stand, as we seek to be a civil society and neighbors. "Perfect love casts out fear" is a phrase that some of invoke from our faith tradition. By gathering, we hope to embody that love and to be a witness to our county and its communities. Please join us and pass along this invitation so that others will join us, as well. Among other elected officials, Sheriff Mike Chapman will be among those present, giving us an update on the progress of pursuing those who vandalized the retail property with their hateful markings. The Loudoun Chapter of the NAACP is also a partner in this effort. Faith leaders from many different traditions will also share. Naming the wrong in this act, we hope to counter it with being allies together and affirming one another as divinely beloved. Please let me know what questions you may have. Again, the Vigil is tomorrow evening, Monday, December 5 at 7:00 pm at the former Food Giant in South Riding at 43090 Peacock Market Plaza (which is at the corner of Tall Cedars Parkway and South Riding Blvd). Yours sincerely, Rev. David Milam Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES 540-454-7917


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