‘Hell Freezes Over’ tops $10K

Rafael McDonnell of Resource Center Dallas reports that the final total for “Hell Freezes Over,” the fundraiser held in response to the Fred Phelps cult’s visit last week, topped $10,000.

The “Westboro Baptist Church Memorial Ice Machine” was ordered Tuesday and was paid for with proceeds of the fundraiser.

With several hundred dollars collected at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, the money raised in Dallas may be a record for fundraising at a Phelps counterprotest.

McDonnell shared some of the notes that accompanied the donations. One of his favorite came from Gary Duncan of Jani-King:

Rafael,

Love the idea of the name of your campaign. Very clever. Those Westboro people make my blood boil! Best of luck with your campaign.

Others donations were made in memory of or in honor of members of the community:

Hello good people.

I am a lifelong friend of Paul Doolan.

Take good care of him; he is precious.

Please use the enclosed check for the “Hell Freezes Over” campaign.

There was this beautiful note in memory of a son who died of AIDS:

In memory of my son, Mark D. Raymond, who would have been 50 years old had he lived. And my protest against the so called “Christians” in this land who manage to get so much media coverage. Congratulations in keeping your heads up and making the event positive for the Center.

And this one from someone who read about the visit:

Please accept this small donation to help you raise money for the much-needed ice machine.

While I do not live in the area of the Resource Center, I do know about the work the Center provides to citizens of the Dallas area, especially those living with AIDS. I commend you for asking people to donate up to one dollar for each minute of protest time. I am sure the article in The Dallas Morning News moved others as it did me to act and support your cause.

One donation was made in honor of activist Latisha McDaniel’s work in the community:

We wanted to make this contribution in your honor b/c of the selfless dedication w/ which you have continued to help others move past their own prejudices both within & outside the GLBT community. You actively seek to create positive change in the world around you, not to merely complain about the problems you see. You have also continually sought to build bridges between the straight & GLBT communities so that we can progress together, respecting each other’s contributions to society. You have challenged those around you to talk about difficult subjects in a safe & open atmosphere. You have become an inspiring voice of reason, compassion & passion on human rights issues that many have come to respect. We anticipate you becoming one of our city’s great leaders in the future & look forward to continuing to serve a supportive role in your dreams towards making a difference in the lives of others.

Diane Litke is president of Congregation Beth El Binah, the target of the Phelps clan picket at RCD.

“I’m glad being a target could be so productive for the Resource Center,” Litke said.

—  David Taffet