Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter October 27, 2005

Twenty-five years ago, the focus of Canadians from coast, to coast, to coast was drawn to a young, curly haired man, Terry Fox. Young Terry Fox set out to run across Canada, from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, to raise money for cancer research. That was an ambitious goal for anybody. But Terry Fox was not anybody. Terry Fox had only one leg. He lost a leg to cancer. The picture of Terry Fox running, escorted by a police car with flashing lights, quickly comes to mind. He had the limping stride required to run with an artificial leg. His unique running gate is deeply engraved in the minds of those who saw Terry Fox run. According to the Terry Fox Run web site, Terry ran an average of twenty-six miles a day for 143 days. And he did that with an artificial leg. Terry's run was called the Marathon of Hope. Disappointment and sadness was felt by many people when Terry Fox cut short his run in Ontario, because he had a relapse of cancer. Terry Fox did not survive the battle with cancer. The day Terry Fox died, Canada lost a hero. In fact, the world lost a hero.

While Canada lost a hero, Terry Fox did something special for Canada and for the world. He gave Canadians a sense that the Marathon of Hope had to continue, that fighting cancer was important. Every year since then, people across Canada have run to raise money for cancer. In the twenty-five years since Terry Fox started running across Canada, the on-going campaign has raised over $360 million for cancer research. This year, schools across Canada closed for a few hours and thousands of students ran in memory of Terry Fox and in support of his Marathon of Hope. None of those school-aged children were alive when Terry ran the Marathon. But they picked up a bit of the Terry Fox spirit, the spirit that finds hope out of the seeds of pain and disappointment.

Those wanting to see hatred and hate crimes end are also running in a marathon of hope. In fact, there have been so many heroes in our marathon of hope that we cannot even begin to count them. As a world, we've lost scores talented, intelligent, articulate Jewish, Christian, Islamic, black, aboriginal, white, gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgendered people to hate crimes. The memories of those people, kept alive by loved ones and friends, has made the world a more gentle place.

This month marks the anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. There is something about the Matthew Shepard story that galvanized public attention on the horrendous nature of hate crimes in general. Like Terry Fox, Matthew Shepard's life has made a significant difference.

Just as we have no magic cure for cancer, we have no magic cure for hatred and hate crimes. The marathon of hope continues in our lives. Progress is being made. Black people have earned numerous civil rights in the United States. Many schools have programs aimed at reducing bullying. Churches have apologized for not having done more to assist Jewish people during World War II. One of the more recent church denominations to apologize to Jewish people is the Seventh-day Adventist Church. An article about the apology can be read at Adventist Review. Canada has hate crimes legislation that includes gay and lesbian people. The number of countries allowing same-gender marriages is slowly increasing. More and more people are starting to see gay marriage as a basic human right. Concerns about gay marriages being harmful for society are starting to decrease, as same-sex marriages become more common.

A few important news items follow:

  • In September, Simon Wiesenthal passed away at age 96. Simon Wiesenthal, a holocaust death-camp survivor, spent many years bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. Our thoughts are with the Wiesenthal family and with the many Jewish people around the world who are grieving. Some information about Simon Wisenthal and some of the memorial services held for Simon Wisenthal can be found at Wiesenthal Center

  • Rosa Parks, a leader in the black rights movement passed away. Her simple act, refusing to get out of her bus seat for a white person, made a real difference for black people throughout the United States.

  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America continued to discuss gay issues. A Fox News article describes a powerful protest that took place at the national meeting in August. When debate was starting on the issue of ordaining gay clergy, about 100 gay advocates, wearing rainbow sashes, are reported to have walked to the front of the hall and turned to face the delegates. The protesters remained there until after voting on the issue ended. The story can be read at Foxnews. Those interested in an in-depth discussion of the debate that took place in the Evangelical Lutheran Church may want to listen to the thirty minute discussion on the National Public Radio web site. On other church-related topics, the Presbyterian Church (USA) is appealing for unity. An article can be read on the PlanetOut web site PlanetOut.

  • The man convicted of killing Joel Robles, a transgendered person, received a four-year sentence. The sentence angered GLBT human rights groups. You can read more on the PlanetOut.Com site at PlanetOut.

  • Mrs. Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard's mother spoke at Montana's Carroll College. News reports on indicate a protest of her speech was planned and there were concerns an explosive device might be set off. Fortunately, there was no protest. Details of the news article can be read at

  • Amnesty International reports that Latvian politicians tried to stop a gay pride march this summer. The story can be read at Amnesty International.

  • A note that could be of concern for those living in the United States is an Amnesty International article about police abuse and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. According to the article, people perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered “continue to be targeted for human rights abuses by the police. . .” The article is detailed and informative. The article is at Amnesty International.

  • An excellent book about gay hate crimes was recently published in Canada. The book, Pink Blood: Homophobic Violence in Canada, by Douglas Victor Janoff, is a must read book for people interested in homophobia. An outline of the book, information about the author and information about where the book can be purchased is available on Douglas Janoff's web site, Pink Blood. The book can be purchased at or

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