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About the family we worked with in North Carolina

7/10/01 update

We want to thank of the wonderful people who responded when we asked for help to bring a lesbian couple and their four young children in rural North Carolina to safety. They had been threatened and harassed by a male relative who lived on adjacent property. They were not being supported by other family members or the local law enforcement.

As we promised, we are writing to let you know how this situation has been resolved. We worked with a wonderful team of local people to provide the support, resources and technical assistance that the family needed in this crisis. We raised enough money for them to move their house trailer, and we gave them deposit money for the new location.

As an unexpected positive twist, the relative who was harassing them moved away while the family was focused on dealing with some health problems. Other people in the family became more supportive with him gone, and as such the two moms have decided not to move and uproot their children. Unfortunately, they were forced to forfeit their deposit money ($380.00) because they did not move when they were expected to.

But now they will not be needing the rest the money that was donated, and so responsible decisions must be made about what to do with it. We offered the people who donated a choice of three options:

1. We can return the money to them.

2. They can request that the money be given to PFLAG specifically for the Families United Against Hate project to help in the work of supporting hate crime victims and their families.

3. They can request that the money be given to the Emmaus Metropolitan Community Church in Fayetteville, NC. The church was wonderful in handling the donations for this family. They are a small struggling church, dedicated to supporting a local community of families and individuals and we know they can put it to good use. Emmaus MCC told us that the money donated to them will go toward their AIDS ministry. They have a food pantry and never refuse a request for food - most of these donations are to AIDS patients.

If we don't hear from these individuals within a month the money will be donated to Emmaus MCC as the primary choice.

If anyone has any questions about this, please feel free to contact us.

Thank you, Families United Against Hate

Carolyn Wagner, Waldron AR
Gabi Clayton, Olympia, WA

and: Margaret Antle, Chapel Hill, NC ~ cmantle@msn.com 

5/17/01 update 

Dear PFLAG Members and other interested people,

We need your help in bringing to safety two women and their four small children living in rural North Carolina. Information regarding the family and how folks can help can be found at the following website of Q-News, http://www.q-notes.com/regional1.htm We are asking you, if you are comfortable in doing so, to distribute this email to your chapters and to any other people you think might be interested.

These two mothers and their four children (ages 18 months to 9 years) had never heard of PFLAG. One of the moms has a supportive sister living in Mississippi who knew what was happening. Last month when Lifetime re-ran the movie "The Truth About Jane" the sister wrote down the PFLAG contact information given at the end of the movie and called our national office. This is how PFLAG and FUAH found out about their plight. We have put them into contact with Lambda Legal Defense, but until they are out of this volatile situation nothing can be done without further antagonizing the harassers and local law enforcement. This is our opportunity to intervene before another life is lost due to ignorance and hate. Following my letter is a report that explains the dilemma of this family and why they and their children need your help to move to a safe place as soon as possible. (Please be reassured that PFLAG members as well as staff and FUAH organizers have worked hard to verify this situation and it is legitimate, but feel free to ask us questions. Our contact information is at the end of the report). We will immediately notify everyone who received this request that the required amount of funds has been raised. Also we will, if you will let us know you want them, send you updates once the family is in a safe location.

Some possible ideas on how chapters can help are to pass a hat around at a chapter meeting, with folks putting in a few dollars, or have to someone host a potluck or cookout where folks will pay $3.00 to $5.00 to attend. Potlucks/cookouts are a good way for folks to come together, perhaps visit and even talk about hate crimes in their own community and at the same time know that they will actually be participating in a direct action that will bring two moms and their four children to a safer life.

Information about Families United Against Hate can be found at the website of another pflag member, FUAH organizer and mother of hate crime victim, Gabi Clayton at: http://www.fuah.org.

Family in North Carolina needs help  (4/25/01)

We are writing to ask for your assistance with a situation that has arisen in North Carolina. Families United Against Hate, a project of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and others is providing support and technical assistance to a lesbian couple with four children.

This family is currently being forced off their land by a male relative who is threatening and harassing them because they are lesbians. A local North Carolina PFLAG chapter has been hard at work supporting the family and identifying resources in the area to help the couple, including various shelters and the local Metropolitan Community Church.

Unfortunately the situation has escalated to the point where the family is no longer safe staying on their property and will need to move. For example, last week their relative erected two billboards. The first billboard has lights on it and is directly above the school bus stop where the children have to wait to board the school bus. This billboard states: Two Queers Live Here (an arrow points directly toward their home). The second billboard states: "Two Lesbians Live on this Property with Four Children". In addition, he has been standing just on his property line and shooting his rifle toward their home all hours of the night.

The family will need approximately $2,000 for moving expenses. This includes hiring someone to move their house trailer (which they own) to a new piece of land and getting their utilities connected. Please consider making a donation to help this family secure a safe home for their children. The Emmaus Metropolitan Community Church has generously offered to collect and pass onto the family any donations received. The address of the church is: P.O. Box 346, Fayetteville, NC 28302-0346. All checks can be made payable to The Emmaus Metropolitan Community Church. As of May 16 the local PFLAG chapters and MCC members have raised $688.00.

If you have any questions about this request please feel free to contact Carolyn Wagner at carolynw@fuah.org, Gabi Clayton at gabic@fuah.org. Please feel free to distribute this email.

Thank you for your support,
Families United Against Hate

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