The Two Hour Anti-Hate
Students, teachers, parents and community members gathered in front of Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley last night to declare their solidarity against recent hate speech at the school.
Illuminated only by streetlights and the candles they held in their hands, 250 demonstrators crowded shoulder to shoulder on the hillside facing Miller Avenue. Peace activists, student speakers and local leaders, as well as representatives from the Anti-Defamation League and the office of California State Assemblywoman Carole Migden, encouraged rally attendees to continue to be compassionate and kind in the face of last week's anti-gay vandalism...
"The acts of hatred and violence that have taken place have shocked the school and the community,"
...Last night's rally was the latest in a number of recent student-led efforts aimed at promoting tolerance and spreading an anti-hate message...
...The Leadership class and other students have distributed nearly 600 lavender ribbons to students and community members who are wearing them in solidarity against the hate crime...
"We're hoping the community and school will recognize Tam is still a safe place... Just because we've had a few instances of hate speech does not mean we're a gay-bashing school."
..."I don't see this as a reflection of the typical Tam student. It's just not in the culture of the school, and that's what raised the concern level... It was bizarre, but it shows us that no one is immune to this. There are no guarantees - no matter how progressive, how well-educated the community is - there are no guarantees there aren't going to be some people with a problem..."
At the close of the rally, as Tam student George Hines led the demonstrators in singing the Beatles' "Let it Be," a tear slid down the cheek of a gray-haired man in a blue track suit. Bob Jacobs, a science teacher for 14 years at Mill Valley Middle School, wiped his face when the song ended. Among the many Tam High students he has taught is the young girl the community came to support.
"Obviously, this is very sad," Jacobs said as a few of his current students came to greet him. "The students at this school should just keep their heads up and realize they're a wonderful group."
No word yet on whether Sammy Hagar showed up to burn a big "HATE" sign.