Pride Picnic Sends Message of Love In of Protest Westboro

Some people chose to answer Westboro's hateful message with a peaceful celebration.

Last week, many Sioux Citians joined together to decide on one clear message to send to the Westboro Baptist Church.

Today the message they chose to spread was based on unity, love and peace.

At a peaceful pride celebration, all were welcomed to the table.

Leaders of the Siouxland Pride Alliance organization and members of the community met at Cook Park for a celebration of love and equality.

Rather than retaliate at the Westboro Baptist Church protests today, people joined together at City Hall and East High in unity seeking to be respected and treated as equals.

"You know, Westboro Baptist wanted to come here, you know, and get some attention for themselves, but what that turned into was showing hatred--showing people perverting Christianity. The message of Christianity is to love one another and they perverted that and ultimately they didn't win. Love won out. We are here today standing on the side of love," said Siouxland Pride Alliance Co-Founder Karen Mackey.

The people at the Peace Picnic and Community Celebration commemorated today with symbolic songs and relived details of this afternoon's events.

For one man, today's message comes at no greater time following last weekend's 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for equality.

"These people in society need to realize there's rights for everybody no matter your sex, race, religion, or sexual identity that's what our country was founded on," said Maris Girard.

The crowd tonight says their choosing to remember the values Maris and many others believe in and hope for a day when love overpowers hate.

It's estimated about 200 people were involved through Siouxland Pride Alliance in the peaceful demonstration and celebrations tonight.