Companions of Dorothy the Worker engage to end violence against the LGBTQ community

Representatives of Companions of Dorothy the Worker (CDW) had the remarkable privilege of leading a walking tour through the Castro of 15 middle-school-age young people from the youth groups of five East Bay congregations. Coordinated by Ethan Lowery of St. Stephen’s, Orinda, and Samantha Haycock of Christ Church, Alameda, the tour was part of an immersion experience for the churches’ youth. CDW representatives spoke of LGBTQ history and the massacre in Orlando within the framework of that history.

Starting with Harvey Milk Plaza beneath the Pride flag, and the first glass front gay bar, Twin Peaks, the group spoke of the assassination of Harvey Milk, the White Night Riots, and the idea of gay bars as safe spaces for LGBTQ people. The group spoke of Stonewall.

Those in attendance — leaders and participants — were blessed that the GLBT Historical Museum opened their doors to them, for free, so they could educate these brilliant young people on our history.

CDW spoke of the long history of rights work on behalf of LGBTQ people: the final decriminalization of their intimacy in 2003; the lack of full civil rights; the ending of DOMA and DADT; and marriage rights. And today, the Pentagon opened military service to trans-identified people!

They spoke of AIDS, and Oscar Wilde, and coming out, and police raids.

The time together ended with a discussion of Orlando at Dolores Park — about the political, religious, and other factors that made something like Orlando possible. They discussed what they as Christian people could do to let others know that Christians are safe harbors for the LGBTQ community as people of faith. They talked about the Companions of Dorothy the Worker and ministry in the Castro, and what it means to be in loving presence to one another. As the God Squad’s hats said: “Making neighbors out of strangers again.”