Justin's Gift, LBGTQ youth group, shut out of Anoka's Halloween parade
|"We foolishly assumed that given we were an Anoka-based youth organization, we were in," a Justin's Group coordinator said.|
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Justin's Gift, an LGBTQ youth group founded in the memory of Justin Aaberg, a 15-year-old gay Anoka High School who killed himself after he was bullied in school, has been informed youth from the group won't be allowed to walk in Anoka's annual Halloween parade, ostensibly because "there were too many people already walking in the parade."
Anoka Halloween is the nonprofit that organizes the annual parade in the so-called "Halloween Capital of the World." MinnPost called Anoka Halloween's headquarters in hopes of getting more information about the decision to shut out Justin's Gift, but their calls weren't returned.
Jefferson Fietek, a teacher and one of the adult coordinators of Justin's Gift, told MinnPost the decision "doesn't seem to be very well-thought-out."
"The history of the [Anoka Halloween] organization is showcasing youth organizations; that's confusing to us," he said. "Especially when there's outside groups marching, we got bumped?"
Justin's Gift announced Anoka Halloween's decision on its website and urged youth to instead attend the "Halloween Dance," but at least one parent isn't willing to take Anoka-Hennepin's snub lying down.
Rebecca Krone, a mom and paraprofessional works works with special needs youth in Anoka-Hennepin, created a petition to "Allow the students of Justin's Gift organization to walk in the parade."
To read the petition, which already had about 400 signatures as of late this morning, click to page two.