Please be aware that the Westboro Baptist Church group (led by Fed Phelps) -- the despicable group that, among other things, protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers -- are coming tomorrow morning (Friday, December 3) to Framingham HS to protest the student drama production of the Laramie Project and then here to Wayland to protest against the Islamic Center (and then on to Brandeis and Harvard). The general consensus is that counter-demonstrations simply feed into their strategy of gaining publicity for themselves. The Islamic Center has specifically requested no counter-demonstration and have said they intend simply to ignore the group's presence. So instead, we are urging everyone to make a donation to a charity of their choice and to send an email to the Westboro group ( http://www.godhatesfags.com/contact.html ) (yes, that is the name of their website . . . ) and/or to the local media to let them know you have done so to protest the group’s actions. The Metrowest Daily News has taken the lead on promoting this locally. In a recent editorial, they suggested several ways to make donations and also are asking everyone to send a note to their letters page ( mdnletters@cnc.com) and they will print the info. This could be done with the Town Crier as well (wayland@cnc.com). Here is the main part of the MWDN editorial:

“Dr. Ed Chasteen, whose Missouri church was targeted by Phelps, suggests using the occasion to support charity - especially organizations Phelps would oppose. Writing in the Daily News opinion section on Sunday, Chasteen repeated his call to count how many minutes the WBC protesters picket outside Framingham High and donate a dollar for every minute to a charity of your choice. Organizations involved in gay rights - the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, to name three - are good candidates. Chasteen's Hatebusters group (www.hatebusters.com) suggests having the recipient send a thank-you note to Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church, 3701 SW 12th St., Topeka, KS 66604-1730.

We'll track the number of minutes the WBC group pickets and report back to readers who'd like to participate. If you'd like to make public your pledge to donate, and name the organization that will receive your gift, let us know at mdnletters@cnc.com, and we'll print that as well.

No one can, or should, stop a peaceful protest, no matter how distasteful the signs, but we can let it inspire us to do some good.”

Other options beyond this include donating to the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland ( http://www.icbwayland.org/donations.html ) or to the Framingham HS theater group by sending a check to:

Framingham High School
Drama Company
115 "A" Street"
Framingham, MA 01701

Please take a couple of minutes to do this and also to spread the word. This is something for which we can help generate broad community involvement and education.

Thanks,

Jon.