Protesters forced a school to close after they invited a gay councilperson to speak.
Immaculata Catholic School in Durham, North Carolina, told parents that due to several groups planning demonstrations at the school, they could not let students come to classes. They invited Vernetta Alston, an openly gay councilperson, to speak on Friday for Black History Month.
Alston graduated from Immaculata Catholic School.
The pastor, Christopher VanHaight, told parents on Thursday: ‘As a pastor, I cannot place our Imaculata students into this contentious environment,’ reports Wral.com.
In a statement released on Thursday night, Alston said she was ‘deeply disappointed that my colleagues and I were uninvited to the school’s Black History Month celebration and that the event was altogether cancelled’.
She said: ‘Immaculata is a religious institution and I believe strongly in the freedom to believe and worship how one chooses, even if a belief conflicts with something fundamental to my own life.
‘That said, adherence to that basic principle means that I can freely say that the Church, by depriving students at Immaculata of the chance to honor Black history, and in doing so, condemning the lives and rights of LGTBQ community, is sending a sad, regressive, and life-altering message to our children.’
Alston added: ‘Let us use this moment to embrace the spirit of Black History Month and your celebration by letting the sacrifices we are being asked to make right now motivate us to examine our values, stand up for all the things we believe in even when we differ, and discover the strength in our shared history.’
Alston was due to speak for around eight minutes of the hour long program. The program was honoring influential African-American women..