Metro, Newton

Protesters Gather in Newton to Condemn Massachusetts Family Institute

The Stonewall Liberation Organization (SLO), an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, held a rally in Newton on Friday night condemning the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI)—a not-for-profit organization focused on advancing Christian principles within Massachusetts, according to its website

“Knowing [the MFI] is a supremacy group that’s opposing LGBTQ rights and abortion and taking action to shut those things down … it made me think of the Holocaust,” rally attendee Pat Kryzak said. “You know, you have to take a stance.” 

The SLO hosted the rally at Lyons Park in Auburndale. The SLO chose to rally there due to the park’s proximity to the nearby Boston Marriott Newton, where the MFI held its annual fundraising banquet on Friday evening, according to rally attendees.

The MFI did not respond to The Heights’ request for a comment on the rally. 

After rallying in the park for nearly an hour, the group marched to the Boston Marriott Newton, where ralliers stood outside chanting that it is not safe for the MFI to gather and spread hatred and transphobia, an active member of the SLO named Lucky said. 

“We are here to do everything in our power to make sure the MFI has the worst time at their gala this year,” Lucky said during a speech directed at fellow rally participants.

Lucky’s said the SLO stands with all oppressed and exploited people.

“In the midst of both Palestinian resistance to apartheid and an ongoing zionist mass-killing of Palestinians in Gaza, it is Christian-supremacist groups like [the] MFI who have shown themselves to be some of the largest supporters of Zionism in the world,” Lucky said.

Multiple speakers at the rally condemned several aspects of the MFI’s mission, referring to it as a Christian-supremacist, anti-LGBTQ, misogynistic organization. Speakers criticized the MFI’s support of legislation that favors sexual education occurring within the home rather than in schools. 

“I work in schools, and the idea that students’ access to information about their bodies and their sexuality being limited … I don’t think it has a place in schools,” said Rachel Adams, a rally participant and member of Boston’s branch of Showing Up for Racial Justice—a group that organizes white people to fight for racial and economic justice, according to its website. “I don’t think censorship is ever something you wanna encourage.”

A member of the Mass Feminist Struggle Committee—a Massachusetts-based group that focuses on fighting for reproductive rights, according to its Facebook page—spoke out against the MFI. The member, named Bert, stressed the need for unity among oppressed groups and said the MFI was not only an enemy of the LGBTQ+ community, but also an enemy of women.

“Our enemies are united and they scorn us in the streets, in our doctors offices, in our schools, and online,” Bert said. “I look around and see that we, too, are united and we, too, are ready to fight.”

Bert said the MFI and its audience fear social progress and in turn pass laws that hurt the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and women.

Ralliers began their march to the Boston Marriott Newton following the conclusion of speeches. Leaders from the SLO urged participants to remain safe and to return back to the park if they felt their safety was threatened. 

“When queer people are under attack, what do we do?” leaders yelled to protestors outside of the Marriott. “Stand up, fight back,” the protestors responded. 

October 15, 2023