Student leaders speak at Unity Rally in hopes to spread positivity after a protest from the Westboro Baptist Church on Monday Feb. 11.
On Feb 11 the Westboro Baptist Church, a well known hate group, protested on the corner of Moorpark and Flores in front of Thousand Oaks High School. The Kansas based church often uses hate speech against LGBT+ people as well as Catholics, Muslims, atheists, Jews, U.S. soldiers and politicians.
The WBC has a history of taking legal action against communities or individuals who violate their constitutional rights. The church has made upwards of $150,000 from these lawsuits.
After news of their upcoming arrival Mark McLaughlin released a statement advising students to not engage with the group. Students were also encouraged to wear TO strong and green clothing on Monday.
In response to the event, multiple on campus clubs helped organize a Unity Rally for students to spread positivity.
Junior Aden Goldberg, the president of Jewish Student Union, was one of many students who spoke during the short event during nutrition break.
“It was really just to bring all the students from the afflicted clubs, members of the disenfranchised groups up on stage to link arms in a sign of unity,” Goldberg said.
He along with many other students wanted to spread a message of unity and positivity in wake of the event prior.
“It was really just to bring all the students from the afflicted clubs, members of the disenfranchised groups up on stage to link arms in a sign of unity,” Goldberg said. “We are really lucky at this school to have dedicated staff who is there to help us.”
ASB president Olivia Birg spoke at the Unity Rally and commented on how recent events have made Thousand Oaks a stronger community.
“ Lancers are the best. I’m so proud to be a Lancer because of how our community has come together and how we showed that we live and we don’t hate anybody no matter our differences,” Birg said. “Our differences make us who we are. ”