We are the Executive Board of the Interfaith Clergy Partnership of Greater Athens (ICPGA). We are concerned with an incident that occurred recently at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School. According to parents and teachers, leadership of the school took down a piece of artwork that included the Pride flag and the words, “Gay is OK.” Apparently, the piece of art was also compared to the Nazi symbol of the swastika.
When we formed the ICPGA four years ago, more than 40 local clergy members committed to four core values. Three of those are relevant to this incident:
• Demonstrating sensitivity and openness to difference.
• Fostering partnerships with local communities and organizations.
• Pursuing initiatives that help strengthen our community.
The ICPGA is not unlike our public schools in that we come together from various backgrounds, faith traditions, gender identities and sexual orientations. We are different, and we gather strength from learning about and celebrating those differences, even those (perhaps especially those) that may make us uncomfortable. Unfortunately, these priorities seem neglected in this recent incident.
We are dismayed at the comparison between the Pride flag, a symbol of inclusion, and the Nazi swastika, which symbolizes the methodical and systematic eradication of six million Jews, as well as other non-Aryan minorities. Comparisons such as this point to a need for education and understanding; not only for our students, but for our leadership as well. We would be delighted to meet with CCSD officials, teachers and parents as we continue our partnerships.
Chair Bronte Colbert
senior minister, Unity Athens; president of Interfaith Clergy Partnership of Greater Athens
Vice Chair Dexter Joyner
president, Athens Georgia Stake, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Treasurer Sohayl Moshtael
Secretary the Rev. Kathleen Deegan-Neal, M.A.Ed, MDiv
Past Chair Rabbi Eric Linder
Congregation Children of Israel
Like what you just read? Support Flagpole by making a donation today. Every dollar you give helps fund our ongoing mission to provide Athens with quality, independent journalism.