The Ali Forney Center, a New York LGBT homeless charity, has reached its goal.
The organization’s online fundraising campaign has received $200,000 in donations, meaning it’s that much closer to taking Harlem’s Atlah World Missionary Church away from fervidly antigay pastor James David Manning, who thinks Starbucks flavors its lattes with “gay semen.”
Here’s a statement from Ali Forney’s Executive Director Carl Siciliano:
“It has been an extraordinary two weeks.
“We have been overwhelmed with support and encouragement and now have the opportunity to turn a place that has promoted hatred and violence into a safe space for LGBT homeless youth.
“Ali Forney, who inspired the founding of the organization, was murdered in Harlem in 1997, only 12 blocks from ATLAH. In 2013 Islan Nettles was beaten to death in Harlem only one mile from ATLAH.
“Could there be a more just outcome to the ATLAH foreclosure than that the young LGBT people most endangered by the hatred and contempt Manning promotes would take over his building.”
He added: “AFC’s acquiring the beautiful and historic building that now stands as a symbol of hate would be extraordinary, but the bottom line is this: the Ali Forney Center has 200 youths per night on the waiting list for our beds.
“As an organization, we have no obligation more urgent than to increase our capacity to provide housing to these vulnerable youth.
“With the support of the Harlem community, those who have contributed and many others offering to help, we approach the February 24th auction with confidence and hope.”
“Given the real estate market in Harlem we anticipate the bidding will go significantly higher than the $1.02M owed and we are in discussion with potential developers and investors to acquire the building and we anticipate having a partner by the time of the auction.
“We will continue fundraising through the #HarlemNoHate campaign and make every effort to be in as strong a position as possible to acquire the building.”
A fixture in Harlem for more than 30 years, The Atlah World Missionary Church has never been shy about expressing its own blunt ideas.
The large red billboard in front of the church is emblazoned with rotating messages like one that said to gays “cursed be thou with cancer, HIV, syphilis, stroke, madness, the itch, then Hell.” Others have gone after Obama, calling him “a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president.”
So, when the news broke that the church owed $1 million to creditors and was facing a foreclosure auction Feb. 24, some quarters received it with joy.
Last week, Manning puked out a rabid rant regarding Ali Forney’s attempts to buy his church:
“They’re going to turn this church into a bathhouse, they’re going to turn this church into a homeless building for the sodomites.
“The sodomites are sick as hell! This is the lord’s house! This ain’t no damn bathhouse! It ain’t no fag house!
“And before you can ever own this property, men who are fags with testicles will be carrying babies in their testicles and giving birth to them through their anus.
“That’s how impossible it is for you to get this house. When you start carrying a baby in your bags and birthing that baby through your ass… then you can own this house!”
“Until I see you pull a baby out your ass, you ain’t gonna pull this church out from underneath us.
“Boom shaka-laka goes right there! And all you fags can go to hell!”
The auction is set for February 24.
In the meantime, we can’t wait to hear what Manning has to say about this most recent development.
h/t: Pink News