In response to the editorial saying that Mayor John Hieftje shouldn’t use his power to censor speech, I must say that I’m quite disgusted the Daily would say that (A pig and a protest, 10/01/2009).

Hieftje came out in support of our protest defending the LGBTQ community, trying to help broker a deal with The Blind Pig in hopes that we could put this behind us and just get along. He addressed the crowd and told us that if it was up to him, this performer wouldn’t have been performing tonight, but he didn’t censor free speech. He acted as any admirable citizen of Ann Arbor should when he spoke out against allowing Buju Banton to perform.

The mayor hoped that he could help bring attention to the fact that these kinds of performances are not what Ann Arbor is all about. I sent Mayor Hieftje a personal thank you, because as a member of the LGBTQ community, it meant a great deal to know that he supported us. If The Blind Pig had booked a Nazi or KKK member and the mayor spoke out against it, would the Daily really accuse the mayor of trying to censor free speech? It’s just sad how everyone does not see these parallels.

As recently as 2006, Buju Banton has used his music to advocate violence against LGBTQ people. I’m glad my mayor feels he needs to speak out against performers like this and the venues that host them. We simply can’t let those who advocate for the murder and torture of anyone to be allowed to speak without protest. Sure, they can speak, but we are all within our rights to protest them at every word.

Mitch Meyle

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