Beginning today, the chapter will be running a new ad campaign in local media urging constituents to Tell Congresswoman Foxx: Hate Is No "Hoax."
The campaign, which is financed by chapter members and local supporters, is running in response to Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's comments, during House debate on federal hate crimes legislation, that the murder of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard was "a hoax."
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act - which passed the House with bi-partisan support last week - is also known as The Matthew Shepard Act, and Shepard's mother, Judy, has been a passionate advocate for its passage.
"The bill was named after a very unfortunate incident that happened, where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay," Foxx said. "The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s, it’s really a hoax, that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."
Now, PFLAG is calling Foxx out in ads that will appear in The Winston-Salem Chronicle, as well as local weekly and Spanish-language newspapers this week. The Chronicle ad debuted in this morning's paper.
"There are very few times an organization gets handed a situation they can use as a teachable moment — as a chance to bring attention to the fact that violent crimes committed against GLBT people happen everyday," Thomas Farmer, president of PFLAG Winston-Salem, told Q-Notes this morning.
Foxx "needs to understand that this is not just a gaffe," he said. "It’s not just about using the wrong word. It isn’t just semantics."
Neena Mabe of Pfafftown, a PFLAG Winston-Salem member whose 17-year-old daughter is a lesbian, said she was extremely upset by controversy, Q-Notes reported.
"It is unfortunate that any elected representative would be so ill informed on the specifics of this crime," she said. "I think her comments point out an inability to see the world through anything other than her own experiences which significantly limits her ability to be effective as a representative."
"The real hoax," the chapter's ad says, "is Foxx's arguments against hate crimes laws."
"The truth is this: In 2007, violent crimes against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community increased by a staggering 24%."
The ad lists three numbers for Foxx's offices - (202) 225-2071, (336) 778-0211 and (828) 265-0240 and urges readers to "Join the Winston-Salem Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in making sure Congresswoman Foxx knows the truth."