A right-wing think tank funded by conservative business owner and politico Art Pope is targeting LGBT community leaders in its new “Mapping the Left” website, providing a glimpse, they say, into a “vast, shadowy network” of groups and leaders that “make up the radical liberal left in North Carolina.”
The project comes from the Civitas Institute, funded and created by the Pope family and once named after Art Pope’s father, John William Pope.
The group has included several LGBT community groups, their staffers, board members and other volunteers, as well as documenting their funding sources and supporters. Individuals’ names also include other organization affiliations, some of which aren’t currently listed in the main database.
Civitas says it will unveil “new revelations” about their so-called left-wing network throughout the spring. The site, they say, is meant to expose a “well-organized progressive movement has built a network of groups that work together to push an extreme, liberal/progressive agenda that the media has failed to report upon.”
Among the groups and leaders targeted are Equality North Carolina and its related foundation. The site lists some current and former staffers and board members, including Chris Sgro, Jen Jones, Rod Goins, Ken Wittenauer, Mary Jamis and Crystal Richardson. Even folks like Dan Gurley, a died-in-the-wool Republican supporter of Equality NC, doesn’t get a pass.
Other groups include the Asheville-based Campaign for Southern Equality and its executive director the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, LGBT-affirming Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, Yadkin Valley’s immigrant and LGBT rights group El Cambio and the NC AIDS Action Network.
The site also includes the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, a group they note is based in New Hampshire but has six member congregations in North Carolina.
The groups are collectively categorized under one of two categories: “homosexual rights” and “lesbian gay bisexual and transgender.”
Immigrant groups are listed, too, including Charlotte’s Latin American Coalition. That listing includes openly LGBT staffers Lacey Williams and Jaime Villeges.
Durham’s altnewsweekly, The Indy, doesn’t seem to be taking the new Civitas project all that seriously.
“Wait, is this the Onion? No just a press release by the Civitas Institute,” Indy begins its article on the project.
Here at qnotes, we’re just a tad bit disappointed and sad we weren’t included in such an illustrious group of change makers and courageous advocates for equality.