In the early morning hours of July 26, a group of youth gathered in Laguna Hills, California, to let people know that there are better dining options for those who support LGBT equality then a newly opening Chick-fil-a restaurant. Youth from Youth Empowered to Act (YETA) distributed fliers to inform potential customers of Chick-fil-a’s donations to anti-LGBT organizations. They also offered suggestions for alternatives to Chick-fil-a. GLAAD has been working with the group to secure media around the protest as well as their work to speak out about LGBT issues in their community over the past few months.
Demonstrators line up outside of the grand opening of the Chick-fil-a.
"Family, friends and teachers support who I am and they don't want to support a company that donates millions to groups working to make life harder for me as well as young adults like me. I'd like to thank GLAAD and everyone around the country who is using Chick-fil-A's anti-LGBT stance to speak out in support of the community," said 20 year-old Justin Mccoy, who is working with YETA and the Center Orange County, the region's LGBT Center.
Because of the discovery of $2,000,000 in donations to anti-LGBT organizations and the recent anti-gay statements of Chick-fil-a's CEO, media outlets were interested in what real people were doing and saying. The demonstration in Laguna Hills garnered significant media attention. All local media outlets were present, as well as many stories from mainstream, Christian and LGBT media.
"My family and the youth I work with value love, commitment and family. Today a majority of Americans support gay families and companies like Chick-fil-a are clearly just out of touch," said Laura Kanter, Director of Youth Services at the Center Orange County.
The following video is from the Southern California NBC affiliate:
YETA youth are sending GLAAD photos from the demonstration as they happen. You can see the full album of photos at GLAAD's Facebook page.
Orange County Dream Act young adult team
Laura Kanter being interviewed by local FOX affiliate
Justin McCoy interview with NBC affiliate
The pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Orange County
YETA started working with GLAAD when they began a campaign to support a Fullerton High School classmate who was disqualified from the school's “Mr. Fullerton Pageant” for speaking about his wishes for marriage equality. They were guests at GLAAD's Los Angeles and San Francisco Media Awards. With the help of GLAAD, they recently published a series of essays in the Huffington Post, describing what new anti-bullying laws in California could do for them.
GLAAD is proud of the YETA youth and the energy they bring to highlighting LGBT equality in Orange County, and beyond. We are also highlighting the Chick-fil-a Same-Sex Kiss Day. For a full list of Chick-fil-a actions, or to promote your own, please visit our Chick-fil-a action page.