Did you know that the Point Foundation is so dangerous that the Catholic Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts had to insist that Anna Maria College rescind their invitation to Vicki Kennedy to be their commencement speaker this year? Yes, that's right, Vicki Kennedy who along with her late husband Senator Edward Kennedy has dedicated a lifetime to human rights, gun control, healthcare and education.
Why was the bishop of Worcester so upset by Mrs. Kennedy and demanded she be summarily uninvited? Because she introduced me at the Point Foundation Dinner in 2010.
Now we all know that the Point Foundation is a dangerous and subversive organization. After all, God forbid, it provides scholarships to young LGBT Americans who have being forced from their homes because of their sexuality. It sends people to Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Notre Dame and so many other places to become educated, productive citizens and role models for future generations. It gives each of its scholarship recipients mentors who are there for them unconditionally to help them through tough times. Oh yes, and let's not forget, it teaches young people to have pride, to love themselves and to have hope for the future.
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette announced in a brief story Feb. 25 that Kennedy would speak and be awarded an honorary doctorate of public administration. Subsequently, board members at Anna Maria received only a smattering of letters complaining about the choice.
But shortly after the newspaper announcement, the bishop approached Anna Maria arguing that on certain issues – particularly abortion and gay rights – Kennedy’s apparent beliefs made her an inappropriate choice. One of the sources said McManus pointed to a 2010 YouTube video of a gala at which Kennedy gave a warm introduction for David Mixner, a gay-rights advocate.
Another said he told Anna Maria he would stanch the college’s funding or boycott commencement if Kennedy remained on the schedule.
Wow, I didn't realize the dinner was so dangerous.
The dinner was held in the Pierre Hotel Ballroom (known for it subversive meetings) and was completely packed to the point of being sold out. Prime Minister and Ms. Brown of the United Kingdom sent taped greetings. Corporations such as Audi, Motorola and Time Warner sponsored the evening. Cheyenne Jackson, Judith Light, Harry Smith of CBS News, Kelly Ripa and the Baroness Denise Kingsmills were all in attendance. Tony Award Winner Alan Cumming introduced Mrs. Kennedy. What did she say as she presented the Legend Award to me that was so threatening to cause her voice to be silenced at Anna Maria College? Here goes:
“My husband was honored to be in the fight with him. And Teddy never doubted that in the end, the cause will be won – not partial equality, but full equality; not second-class equality, but the right to live free, and to marry and raise a family. My husband said: ‘Equality is a continuing struggle and America is a continuing revolution.’”
Those words of love, compassion and equality should be cheered around the world. They should be held up as examples of leadership and courage in a time of adversity. Those words should challenge other leaders to aspire to reach the same level. And they certainly match the work and spirit of the Point Foundation.
Mrs. Kennedy and others with high values and principles should know - and I believe do know - that the LGBT community would be honored to have her speak anywhere and anytime. That both she and the late Senator are, and always will be, heroes to our community.
As for Bishop McManus, he should know that not only the LGBT community but all people of conscience are inspired by the work of the Point Foundation and its amazing scholars. They are not, however, much impressed with him.