An Open Letter to the WakeTech SGA
January 30, 2019
This post is a letter I wrote to WakeTech’s SGA. This post is the full letter converted from a PDF to Markdown (for purposes of hosting on the blog), some minor formatting changes were made however the content of the letter remains the same. For full transparency, you can access a PDF Version of the letter at https://github.com/nsuchy/logs-and-other-huge-text-files/blob/master/Letter%20to%20SGA.pdf
Update (January 31st, 2019 2:17PM): The WakeTech SGA responded to my email. I am not happy with the outcome, however for transparency purposes, I am attaching their response to this post to the bottom of this post.
To whom it may concern at the WakeTech SGA,
I’m Nathaniel Suchy, a Non-binary and Asexual Student at WakeTech, I’m writing to you because I feel threatened by actions carried out by members of the SGA. On January 22nd, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time, the WakeTech Student Government Association held an event at North Campus, South Campus, and the Public Health & Safety Campus where Students packed a breakfast meal bag to benefit the Wake Tech’s Food Pantry (The Nest). In exchange Students received a Chick-Fil-A breakfast biscuit. (See: https://twitter.com/waketechsga/status/1086336869212794881?s=21) By choosing Chick-Fil-A to provide the breakfast biscuits (whether the biscuits were donated or if funds were appropriated for the SGA to purchase them), WakeTech’s SGA inadvertently threatened their LGBTQIA+ Students.
Chick-Fil-A, has both, in the past, and continues to this day to both lobby lawmakers to legalize discrimination against gender and sexuality minorities, as well as fund organizations who do the same on Chick-Fil-A’s behalf.
According to The Tartan, Radford University, Radford VA:
“Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy started “WinShape,” the fast food restaurant’s charitable arm. This group has been known to donate over one million dollars to similar organizations who claim to have similar values, according to http://www.ontopmag.com. WinShape is an active affiliate with the Ruth Institute, which lists an ongoing campaign on their website entitled “Gay Marriage Affects Everyone: A workshop series explaining the importance of man to woman marriages.” Even more interesting, the Ruth Institute is an “educational project” of the National Organization for Marriage. NOM’s website states its clear intentions of keeping marriage strictly between men and women, an agenda which, according to them, requires a constitutional amendment. Their opinions on the matter are located under the discretely titled “the threat to marriage” tab. So, to what extent are Chick-fill-A’s alleged “anti-gay” affiliations? We’ll have to leave it up to the consumer to make that judgment.”
Chick-Fil-A donated over $8,000,000 to the WinShape Foundation. (See page 18 of https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2010/581/595/2010-581595471-07c2a7b1-F.pdf), WinShape then contributed grants to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Exodus International, an organization known for supporting ex-gay conversion therapy (See https://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/08/03/meet-the-cathys-your-guide-to-the-billionaires-behind-chick-fil-a/#37b624a533a7). The Fellowship of Christian Athletes claims “We believe God’s design for sexual intimacy is to be expressed only within the context of marriage. God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.” (See: https://www.fca.org/aboutus/who-we-are/statement-of-faith) These grants fueled hate towards the LGBTQIA+ Community and would not of been possible without Chick-Fil-A’s direct monetary contributions to the WinShape Foundation.
Chick-Fil-A’s support of The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is not only indirect support however, in 2016 Chick-Fil-A made an approximately $1,500,000 donation to The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and then announced the donation on their blog (See: https://thechickenwire.chick-fil-a.com/Inside-Chick-fil-A/Chick-fil-A-Donations-Where-Does-the-Foundation-Donate-Money).
And lastly according to ThinkProgress: “The foundation also gave more than $200,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Georgia-based “transformative organization” that operates a “Christian residential home for troubled youth.” Focusing on boys, their teachings include the idea that the “sexual, physical, and mental abuse of children, mostly in the alleged ‘safety’ of their own homes has produced all kinds of evil throughout the culture to include the explosion of homosexuality in the last century.” The myth that people are LGBTQ due to abuse is a claim frequently made by anti-LGBTQ organizations to promote harmful “ex-gay” therapy.” https://thinkprogress.org/chick-fil-a-still-anti-gay-970f079bf85/
It’s clear that since at least early 2010, and still to this day, Chick-fil-A has been a key funder of hate towards the LGBTQIA+ Community. Contributions by Chick-fil-A, and their tax exempt foundations have fast-tracked the growth of, and helped scale organizations spreading hate.
By providing Chick-Fil-A with, at a minimum free advertising, and at worse potentially appropriated funds (I do not know who paid for the breakfast biscuits or if they were donated by Chick-fil-A), The WakeTech SGA indirectly supported, through advertising and potentially directly funded, hate towards their own LGBTQIA+ Students. The event the SGA Hosted is important, low income people need food too, however you are not always rewarded for volunteerism. The event could of been held without the incentive of a breakfast biscuit from Chick-Fil-A or with an incentive provided by a different community partner. Chick-fil-A is no friend of the LGBTQIA+ Community and by extension is no friend of the WakeTech Student Community. Please consider your LGBTQIA+ Students at WakeTech and pick a different community partner for future events. Thank you for your consideration.
The WakeTech SGA reached out to me with a response which is as follows
Thank you, Nathaniel, for your feedback. We welcome all students to share on how we can best support them in a wonderful experience at Wake Tech. We apologize that our actions contributed to a negative experience for you with our Bag a Breakfast, Get a Breakfast event. Our goal in this and every effort we put forth is to support student development outside of the classroom and support them in their journey toward well-rounded global citizens, such as with this event to grow in the attributes of service, selflessness, and community care. At times, this can mean participating actively in tough and multifaceted conversations that sometimes challenge individual belief systems and identities, but all with the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of others around us and ourselves.
Please understand that utilizing Chick-Fil-A as a vendor at this event, was not an intentional action against those who are within the LGBTQIA+ community here at Wake Tech. We value all input from our students and strive to create a respectful, inclusive, and diverse community welcoming everyone into the Wake Tech family. Please know that we value your time and perspective in this matter and we will keep this concern in mind when selecting future vendors.
Additionally, please note that many students may volunteer, participate, and find community through our many clubs and organizations, and encourage you to check out our Full Spectrum - Gay Straight Alliance (http://clubs.waketech.edu/fullspectrum/). Or, If you are interested in participating in any club or organization, please contact the Advisor directly and they will get in touch with you regarding membership.
Blog of Nathaniel Suchy. Student at Wake Technical Community College | Reverse Engineer, Software Developer, English & German Speaker | 🏳️🌈 Non-binary (They/Them pronouns), Asexual/Aromantic