Love really does win. At least it has on the corner of US1 and Oakland Park Blvd. where for years hate filled groups have gathered to protest and rally.
But since the Orlando massacre local activist and lawyer Tom Runyan has turned the corner of the hate into a beacon of love, hosting weekly rallies on Monday evenings.
“We wanted to take that corner back and spread a message of love and cooperation. This week had much more importance in light of everything going on in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge and Dallas,” Runyan said. Co-founder of the ongoing rally Derek Maingot added, “we wanted to bring some happiness and color to that corner, with flags and smiles, and honking horns.”
So far it’s worked. About 250 people gathered at the first “Love Always Wins” rally – this week about 50 showed up.
This isn’t Runyan’s first brush with activism. He was actively involved with Equality Florida for many years, serving on the organization’s board. Currently he’s the chair of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyer’s Networking Group (GLLN) in Broward.
“We’d really like everybody to come out and support us,” he said. “The thing we’re trying to do is get anybody who feels they are marginalized in society – whether it be race or sexual orientation – to come out.”
Runyan would even like the police to participate.
“The response has been great,” Maingot added. “The crowd has been mixed with a good representation of different communities.”
A third person, Michael Tank, also helped launched the weekly rallies. Maingot said the three of them wanted to have something physical, something beyond social media.
Runyan noted that Fast Printz is providing signs for free to attendees.
“We’ll continue until the community doesn’t support it any longer,” Runyan said.