Candlelight Vigil in Memory of Kenneth James Weishuhn: Changing the Climate from Fear to Empathy Print
News Releases - Local Events
Written by Rev. Rich Hendricks   
Friday, 20 April 2012 14:16
April 18, 2012

Kenneth Weishuhn committed suicide on April 15. The 14-year-old boy allegedly killed himself after his classmates made him the subject of a Facebook hate group and sent him death threats when he told them he was gay. Family and friends of Kenneth  Weishuhn said he was a happy teen until he came out to friends at South O'Brien High School in Paullina, Iowa, last month. His mother, Jeannie Chambers, said her son recently exclaimed: 'Mom, you don't know how it feels to be hated.'

If we are to change the climate of hate, we must begin by showing solidarity to create a climate of empathy. That is why QC Pride is calling on the community to come out to support a candlelight vigil in memory of Kenneth Weishuhn and others like him who have tragically died so young due to bullying and acts of hate.

The event will be from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24th around the fountain at Vanderveer Park, located on West Central Park between Brady and Harrison Streets, Davenport. All are welcome to come and to bring lights and signs supporting equality and an end to bullying.

Says QC Pride, Inc. President, Jeff Simpson: “Bullying behavior is a trickle down behavior. When we have politicians riding around in buses through our state in hopes of tossing out justices who based a court decision on fairness, that behavior is seen and mimicked in churches, workplaces, and social gatherings. This is then seen in homes and schools, which in turn, fosters itself in our children.”

Simpson offers the example of how kids were taught to fear the Russians when he was a child. “I knew little about the Russians, but the news said to fear them, the adults in my life said to fear them and the church said to fear them.” In that kind of climate there is little room for understanding differences and cultivating the capacity to have empathy for those who are different from us. People should be free to be who they are.

The hate and rhetoric coming from so-called “adults” needs to stop. Children are not able to deal with and should not have to deal with hate and its consequences. We need to teach how sacred and precious is each and every human being. Please help us to change the climate.

I knew little about Russians but the news said to fear them, the adults in my life said to fear them, and so on and so on.

We need to stop the hate rhetoric at the top if we are to solve this crisis. 14 year old minds are not yet developed to understand hate, consequences, and the sanctity of life. This is an ADULT problem. We need to change the climate of fear.I knew little about Russians but the news said to fear them, the adults in my life said to fear them ,and so on and so on.

We need to stop the hate rhetoric at the top if we are to solve this crisis. 14 year old minds are not yet developed to understand hate, consequences, and the sanctity of life. This is an ADULT problem. We need to change the climate of fear.

For more information, contact Rev. Rich Hendricks at 563.940.9630.

QC Pride, Inc. is a charitable and educational organization dedicated to
the promotion of human dignity and equality
and to the creation of a peaceful community
where each and every person is respected
and feels safe, secure and free to live out their core values.