Local Residents are Mobilizing to Protest Dacus's Appearance
Brad Dacus has been selected as the keynote speaker for the Santa Clarita Valley’s 9th Annual Mayors Prayer Breakfast Thursday, May 2 at 7 A.M. at the Hyatt Valencia. Dacus, President and Founder of the Pacific Justice Institute, is a self-described defender of religious and parental rights, but uses that mission as a thinly veiled opportunity to spout hate speech regarding the LGBT community. A flyer promoting the event notes that Congressman Buck P. McKeon is one of the invited guests.
Local residents are mobilizing to protest Dacus’s appearance on Thursday morning.
On CNN in 2007 Dacus proclaimed that marriage equality would “protect polygamy or adult incest.” On video he has also likened the rights of the LGBT community to the moral decay of Nazi Germany.
“Dacus has the right to purport ignorant ideas including gay conversion therapy, but not with the support of our City of Santa Clarita, and Mayor Bob Kellar,” said Malcolm Blue, a Santa Clarita activist.
Kellar is no stranger to controversy having been captured on video supporting the Minutemen opposition to immigration. Unbowed, he referred to himself as a “proud racist” and said he could speak his mind as a private citizen.
The Mayors Prayer Breakfast is a different matter since he’s appearing as the mayor of Santa Clarita.
“Although the Mayors Prayer Breakfast is not an officially sanctioned City of Santa Clarita event, it carries the de facto support of the city when it’s called the Mayors Prayer Breakfast and all the advertising touts Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar as giving the opening remarks,” said Blue.
Bob Kellar is bound by the City’s Philosophy which states “We believe that diversity among staff and in the community creates strength,” and “We treat our fellow employees and community members fairly and equally, without prejudice or bias.”
Kellar is not the only community leader intimately involved in the Mayors Prayer Breakfast. Joe Messina, president of the William S. Hart Union School District, is the main organizer of the event.
Messina, a talk show host on the local, low wattage conservative radio station KHTS, is operating in direct opposition to Hart District’s stated mission. In their guide to “Students and Parent Rights, Regulations and Responsibilities” the Hart District states:
The Governing Board is committed to equal opportunity for all individuals in education. District programs and activities shall be free from discrimination based on ethnic group identification, race, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, gender, color, physical or mental disability, or any other unlawful consideration. The Board shall promote programs that ensure that discriminatory practices are eliminated in all district activities.
The Hart District’s Diversity Web Page boasts numerous statewide “Valuing Diversity” awards received and a reduction in “Bias Motivated Incidents” over the last three years. ”Does School Board President Joe Messina want to reverse the progress we’ve made?” asks Patti Sulpizio, mother of three children educated in District schools. “I’ve taught my children to fix their mistakes. Mr. Messina should match his words with his deeds and set an example for our kids by uninviting Brad Dacus. It’s time we separate church and hate. ”
“What mixed message does it send our young students when Messina, the president of the board, supports discrimination especially in light of the tragic recent suicide of Nigel Hardy, a 13 year-old middle school student from the Antelope Valley which occurred after he had been subject of name-calling like ‘gay’ and ‘fag’.” said Sulpizio. “We are calling on the City of Santa Clarita and the Hart District to rein in Kellar and Messina and remind them of their responsibilities to the entire community not just their narrow minded political supporters.”