#LoveGR crowdfunds acceptance campaign
Today is 6/16 or #616Day — and it’s also #LoveGR Day.
If you’ve seen any locals sharing an image online of the Grand Rapids "La Grande Vitesse" sculpture, or the Calder, inside a yellow heart on a blue background, it means they’re a part of a grassroots movement called #LoveGR Day by the #LoveGR crowdfunding campaign.
The virtual #LoveGR Day event on Facebook has around 1,700 “guests” and was started to build “awareness of the need for love and support in this beautiful city.”
“If we can get everyone in the city to love and support each other for just one day, it opens up endless possibilities to carry it throughout the next 364!” the event page says.
The idea for the #LoveGR campaign was started by Linda Tellis, commonly known as hip-hop artist “Lady Ace Boogie,” and Avery Jackson, owner, producer and show host for “Rap for a Stack.”
The two joined forces about a week ago in response to a billboard in Grand Rapids by the Michigan Oak Initiative.
The billboard is located on U.S. 131 and states, “Homosexuality is a behavior. Not a civil right.”
Tellis said the billboard is a misrepresentation of the city’s spirit.
“We both agreed that the city in which we represent and the countless others who make up our community don't feel the same way as said billboard,” Tellis said. “That is when the movement #LoveGR was born.”
The mission of the #LoveGR campaign is to "provide an accepting environment for all individuals and to advance love equality," according to its Facebook page.
"Family, community and love will not be defined by an individual’s ethnicity, gender identity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation," the page says.
Tellis said their initial Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is to raise money to put up billboards and other marketing material around the city, which convey “love regardless of your orientation, gender, race, etc."
The $10,000 campaign, which ends in 34 days, has raised $1,420 in seven days.
Next year, Tellis plans for the day to be bigger and have a major community event and for the group to eventually take on other initiatives.
“In the short run, the expansion of acceptance will spread throughout the city,” she said.
“Overall, we want people to understand that we make up this community: the artists, the advocates, the local venue employees and supporters, etc. The ones who are present in this city and spreading the type of culture that makes this place great.”