Westboro Baptist Church visit Inspires Unity at CHS

By Thomas Atkinson and Maya Rosenberg

On Tuesday November 10th, the hate group Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) picketed WCHS because of our school’s Sexuality And Gender Alliance, otherwise known as the SAGA club, or the GSA.

This is not the first time the WBC has picketed at an MCPS school. Six years ago, they picketed Walt Whitman High School in protest of the sexuality of Walt Whitman, for whom the school is named for.

According to English teacher Valerie Mainwaring, the principal of Whitman, Alan Goodwin, organized an outdoor rally that politicians, guest speakers and students all attended when they protested there. It was a massive event that was supported by parents, churches and synagogue leaders.

The student lead group Sources of Strength stepped in beforehand and decided to make the day a spirit day focusing on unity at CHS.

“We want to provide a safe environment for everyone,”Mainwaring said, “Bullying and hate should never be tolerated. We are the here to promote our sources of strength and they include each other!”

Despite a protest not being condoned by CHS, students still went along with the idea. Many students stood outside in the rain dressed in rainbow and holding posters.

“Everyone I saw was smiling, and there was music playing, and I don’t think it was the big angry mess the administration thought that it would be at all,” said senior Azariah Kurlantzick. “It made me feel good that so many people came to support Churchill’s LGBT+ community.”

Not just CHS students attended the rally, there were also Wootton, Richard Montgomery and Walter Johnson students who came to provide there support.

“I think we should have a day like the rally every year, I feel like it really brought everyone together,”Wootton senior Katherine Donahue said. “I was cheering with people I didn’t even know, it just made me feel alive.”
Ultimately the day proved that CHS students could come together to rally behind common cause and that love is always stronger than hate.

“It felt amazing to be able to be out as bisexual and feel accepted by every person at school,” sophomore Areya Jade said.  “It makes me feel lucky to go to a school that’s so anti-hate.”