A Great Wall of Love on Locust Street
Juan David Franco of our Prevention team was on hand to take some photos Tuesday, July 26 when a group of approximately 1,000 people turned up outside our medical practice at 809 Locust to demonstrate their love and support for the trans and gender variant communities, in the face of a scheduled protest by members of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Organized by local LGBTQ community advocates Deja Lynn Alvarez, Bender David, Katey Dyck, Lee Embrey, Katelynd Knorr, Tyler Lynch, Alonda Talley, and Christopher Whibley, the group described themselves as the "Great Wall of Love,"
While a team of more than 40 Mazzoni staffers were stationed just outside the office to ensure that our patients could enter safely, this incredible group of people stood - and sang, played music, carried signs - in solidarity, turning a potentially stressful event into a celebration of community. They were joined by people of all ages from across the city (and many who were in town for the Democratic National Convention), by families, people dressed as angels, people on stilts, and members of the Philadelphia Freedom Band and West Philadelphia Orchestra, whose cheerful sounds added to the festive spirit.
Mazzoni CEO Nurit Shein expressed gratitude to the organizers of the Great Wall of Love, and all those who turned out to show their support.
"We would like to thank the many people who showed up outside Mazzoni Center Family & Community Medicine today to stand up to the messages of hatred and intolerance that were being proclaimed by the Westboro Baptist Church," Shein said. "We witnessed an extremely powerful demonstration of love and support for the trans and gender variant communities.”
"Let us carry this positive energy forward, and continue to stand up for those within our communities who are most vulnerable to discrimination, violence, and other forms of oppression or inequality," she added.
For our part, we remain committed to providing the very best in care and support for our trans identified and gender variant patients, and for all in the LGBTQ communities. Mazzoni Center and our staff will be here to welcome patients with respect, dignity, and compassionate care.
Big thanks to everyone who turned out to show your love, to Jeff Sotland and our friends at Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar for donating lunch for our staff who volunteered to stand outside the medical practice, and to Juan for documenting this remarkable day. (See more of Juan's photos and video).
View more colorful, inspiring images of this event by Freedom G Photography here.
More coverage and video of the Wall of Love event on WHYY’s Newsworks blog.
Special thanks to the following for their contributions and support of the July 26 event: Dr. Kathy Rumer / Rumer Cosmetic Surgery; Dr. Christine McGinn / Papillon Center; the Philadelphia Freedom Band; West Philadelphia Orchestra; MediaCopy Printing; Walgreens Pharmacy; the City of Philadelphia LGBTQ Liason Office; Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar; Igloo Desserts; Saxby's Coffee, 11th & Locust; The William Way LGBT Community Center.