The Rotunda "Debate"
What follows is an email exchange between myself and Gina Renzi, the person who has repeatedly allowed MOVE to use the Rotunda for their events. She makes her case and I make mine, and I leave it to the reader to decide who makes a better case.
On a side note I never heard from the University Provost who is said to oversee the Foundation Arts which in turn runs the Rotunda. What a shock.
Again you allow an Organization know to be violent, homophobic, virulently anti-choice...essentially Nazis with dreadlocks, back to the Rotunda to recruit and fundraise. Disgusting.
I do not agree with everything that MOVE does, nor have I ever claimed to personally support or not support them. I do, however, support an open forum for expression. You, just like they, can certainly speak your mind and plan an event here or possibly at another venue to do so. The event on July 15 is open to the public, and welcomes questions. The 7pm event will be preceded, in fact, by a Q & A with MOVE. I fully encourage you or your colleagues to be present and state your case, in public, against them, if you would like. I understand if you cannot personally attend, but why not send supporters to do so? If you are interested in exposing MOVE in some way that most media or other outlets have not, then why not take every public chance (aside from email and blogs) to do so? Forgive me if you already do this, or if this is not your mission.
It is easy to fall back upon the "open forum for expression" isn't it?
No sense of moral or ethical responsibility.
Whatever gets you through your day I guess.
But, for those of us who have been adversly affected by MOVE, things are not so subjectively plain.
Neither do I understand how allowing MOVE to use the Rotunda as a forum for recruitment and fundraising fits into the mission statement of the Foundation Arts.
If you had bothered to read my website or blog you would understand why I would not attend a MOVE program. The first thing MOVE's leaders did when they found out my family and I were leaving the group was to issue threats. And than, after we spoke out publicly my family again was threatened by a number of MOVE supporters via email. Finally, I had to ban comments from my blog after yet another MOVE supporter used it to make physical threats against me.
Free exchange indeed.
If I or someone else who actually knows what MOVE is about were to show up and attempt to speak out we would be shouted down, threatened, or worse. Your position of supposed neutrality is in fact not the case. By allowing MOVE a pulpit to preach their revisionist view of history and warped conception of reality you are assisting them in their vulgar, fascistic, endeavors. Any group that practices the forced rape of children, murders public servants, and threatens with violence its critics does not need to be given a place from which to ply their trade of hatred. There are plenty of street corners for them to occupy and that is where they belong if not in jail. Again I would encourage you to read my blog and website as it is pretty clear that you have not done so.
Nothing is easy in this situation.
Point blank. You don't know me personally. I see your reason for being angry, disgusted, disappointed, what have you, at my refusal to cancel the July 15 event, but just as you might think, incorrectly so, that I have not considered cancelling their event, I think that one should take advantage of an open forum with a group that one opposes strongly. Perhaps my previous message was unclear. I was not saying that you personally should attend. I was using that as an example. I have looked at your blog; I do recall your messages to me from the past; I DID state in my previous message that I understand why you personally cannot attend.
You attack my neutrality, but I don't agree with the fact that you cannot mobilize people to show up at MOVE events and pose the hard questions that need to be asked in such a setting. Why can't you mobilize via anonymous emails sent from IP addresses that cannot be traced? Forgive my simplicity. I do not purport to know your personal situation from any vantage point but that of an outsider, and I am sorry if I am proposing actions that cannot be taken because of security reasons. I understand your statement that people showing up in a public forum and criticizing MOVE are at risk, but then how does a group deflate? How is the public truly made aware?
If there is no public debate, folks need to look at MOVE info, make a choice, and look at your evidence and make a choice. I know that. I just don't see how they'll be exposed, truly, especially to those who don't have internet access to read your blog (yes, I know--those with access can print it out for those without access). To get back from off of that tangent and answer a question in your most recent email, the MOVE event is not listed on The Rotunda's site because we're having problems with our server. For some reason, only half of the changes I try to load actually do make it to the remote server. gina
I think what we have here is your misconceptions about what MOVE is. Whether that is because of the way the group has been presented to you, or through anectdotes or your own personal experiences with the group, nothing can cover up that MOVE is now and has been a violent blight upon the community.
To presuppose that one could have an "open forum" with a group such as MOVE is misguided idealism at best and plain and simple ignorance at worst.
It is a matter of indisputable fact that MOVE is a group that has unleashed violence upon those that has gotten in the groups way and has left a wake of death and deception and destruction in it's wake. MOVE is not a group that one can simply sit down with and hash out differences with in any kind of civil manner.
Your oblique defense of your own purported neutrality is insulting, whether intentional or not.
Why should I have to "mobolize" through "anonymous" means people to challenge MOVE on it's lies? Why would you invite a group where someone would feel sufficently nervous to have to resort to such tactics? That is the more appropriate question .
Secondly, if you were somehow interested in a dialogue about MOVE than why offer such a one sided event?
I would have to say as an answer to your question that the public is "largely" aware of what MOVE is, paticularly those residents who remember the flames searing up from the Cobbs Creek area. Those who may not know are the Penn students who are unwittingly being led into a MOVE recruitment festival being held under your supervision and with your blessing. And trust me, having participated in dozens of such events, that is exactly what they are. And there is of course the money issues as well.
MOVE certainly wont "deflate" if otherwise responsible and apparently inteligent persons such as yourself provide MOVE a forum, a very respected forum at that, which to spread their warped and deluded conceptions.
Having studied dangerous sects or to use the modern vernacular of "high demand groups" such as MOVE. I can assure you that for many who get caught up in sect do not do so via an intellectual journey as you might assume, but rather as a means of a quest for certainty in an uncertain world. Someone could come and challenge and refute every one of MOVE's lies and there would still be those attracted to the group in through personality. You are providing a forum for all of this and you are allowing them a place to raise funds to continue to do what they do.
And in case you forgot, these are some of MOVE's noble activites.
-The forced rape and marriage of girls at the onset of puberty
-The use of children as human shields in violent confrontations with authorities
-The use of this aforementioned "victimization" as a means of recruiting new adherents and securing finances
-The destruction of a black working class neighborhood
-The murder of one police officer and the wounding of dozens of others
I have read your defense, but you fail to convince me. My position remains steadfast.
One other topic that I believe cuts to the heart of the issue is just how does a MOVE event fit into the "Foundation Events" mission charter? Nobody has yet to explain that one to me and as someone who is in a position of at least representing some of the concerns of MOVE's victims I think an answer is called for.
So what gives?