- Immaculata Catholic School in Durham, North Carolina, canceled classes on Friday.
- Administrators said they feared groups would protest over the school’s decision to invite Durham city council member Vernetta Alston – a lesbian woman – to speak for Black History Month.
- Alston, an alumna of the school, said she was “deeply disappointed,” and said all Black History Month events at the school had been canceled.
A Catholic School in North Carolina canceled classes on Friday over fears of protests over the school’s decision to invite a lesbian city councilwoman to speak at a Black History Month event.
Administrators at Immaculata Catholic School in Durham, North Carolina, canceled classes after they heard “a number of groups” had planned to protest on Friday when administrators announced Durham city councilwoman Vernetta Alston was going to speak at the school, The Herald Sun reported.
In a letter to parents, Father Christopher VanHaight said groups were planning demonstrations to “register their respective opinions regarding Vernetta Alston.”
“As pastor I cannot place our Immaculata students into this contentious environment,” he wrote, according to the Herald Sun.
The letter did not detail what groups objected to Alston’s appearance at the school.
Alston, an alumna of the school, said on Thursday that her event at Immaculata Catholic School – and all other Black History Month events at the school – had been canceled entirely.
— Rep. Vernetta Alston (@vernettaalston) February 8, 2019
She said in a letter posted to Twitter that she was “deeply disappointed” that the event were cancelled.
“Immaculata is a religious institution and I believe strongly in the freedom to believe and worship how one chooses, even if a belief conflicts with something fundamental to my own life,” she wrote.
“That said, adherence to that basic principle means that I can freely say that the Church, by depriving the students at Immaculata of the chance to honour Black history, and in doing so, condemning the lives and rights of the LGTBQ community, is sending a sad, regressive, and life-altering message to our children – that the voices and experiences of those within the Black community can be canceled and that inclusion is not valued by some who are charged with shaping their character. I reject that message,” she added.
INSIDER has reached out to Immaculata and Alston for comment.
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