Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns has said repeatedly that he was moved to deliver his Oct. 12 It Gets Better speech when he read about the death of Zach Harrington, a gay teen who took his own life after hearing hateful anti-gay comments during a City Council meeting in Norman, Okla. Now, someone reportedly plans to protest Burns’ passionate speech — and undoubtedly make more hateful comments that could drive LGBT teens to suicide — during this Tuesday’s Fort Worth City Council meeting. Unbelievable.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Sunday that at least one person plans to speak during Tuesday’s meeting to “air disapproval” of Burns’ speech four weeks ago. The brief report in The S-T doesn’t identify the person or persons who plan to speak. It also doesn’t say where the newspaper got the information, which is strange:
At least one person — and possibly more — plans to be in attendance to air disapproval of the much-talked-about speech by Councilman Joel Burns last month in council chambers.
Burns, the first openly gay council member, gained national attention after delivering a stirring address, in the wake of recent incidents, pleading with gay teens not to resort to suicide.
Video of the speech became an instant sensation online.
Within a week, more than 200,000 people had posted the link to the speech on Facebook, and a media tour followed. Burns appeared for interviews on CBS’ Early Show, CNN, the Today show on NBC and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Burns was among the speakers during Saturday night’s Black Tie Dinner in Dallas. Burns choked up as he talked about how he’d been contacted earlier in the day by Harrington’s father.
“Mr. Harrington said that Zach’s mom, a teacher, is having a particularly difficult time these days, and that he wishes he could let Zach know how much they miss him, but they can’t because he killed himself — after attending a City Council meeting,” Burns said. “As I said on Oct. 12, no child should be made to feel that they are without worth. Let us remind them of their value while we still can.”
Burns then led a moment of silence “in remembrance of the needless loss of teens who found the bullying too much to bear.”
Today we can add 14-year-old Brandon Bitner to the list of those teens.
Tuesday’s council meeting, should you wish to attend, is at 7 p.m. at Council Chambers at City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton St.