Furries Raise Money for Libraries Amid Threats to Cut Funds

By KEISHA ROWE, The Clarion Ledger

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The furry neighborhood has taken cost of main fundraising efforts for the Madison County Library System and raised 1000’s of {dollars} as funding for the libraries hangs in limbo.

The system entered the highlight after Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee stated he would withhold $110,000 in annual funding after books with LGBTQ+ themes and authors had been placed on show.

Furries are a various neighborhood of writers, artists and function gamers who take an curiosity in anthropomorphized animals like wolves and cats. Furries are sometimes a part of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

McGee stated he acquired complaints about books with LGBTQ themes or authors which had been a part of a brand new e book show in Ridgeland in September. He stated he doesn’t imagine any sexually specific materials needs to be obtainable within the library the place kids could also be uncovered to it.

Political Cartoons

“In my capability as mayor, I merely imagine the books are inappropriate for youngsters,” McGee stated in an announcement.

Soatok, a Florida tech business employee and furry neighborhood member who prefers to go by his on-line deal with, noticed a Tweet in regards to the state of affairs and took motion to lift consciousness.

“I’ve mates in Mississippi and I do know that this act of bigotry doesn’t converse for all Mississippi residents,” he stated. “So as an alternative of dismissing the complete state due to the actions of 1 unhealthy politician, I made a decision to discover the potential for donating to offset the withheld quantity.”

His search led him to Pals of the Ridgeland Library, an area nonprofit, which had a fundraiser launched by EveryLibrary, a nationwide nonprofit political motion committee for libraries, days after the choice gained nationwide consideration.

When Soatok made his preliminary donation of $500 on a $2,500 objective on Jan. 27, there weren’t some other backers aside from him. Lower than 24 hours after posting a screenshot of his donation, the fundraiser had 189 backers and had raised greater than $9,000.

Furries are identified to swarm charitable causes that resonate with the neighborhood, Soatok stated, and have raised upwards of $80,000 in a single weekend throughout conventions.

“On account of the furry neighborhood’s penchant for charity, I began this believing that reaching the $110,000 that the mayor is withholding was attainable. There was little question that we may pull this off,” he stated. “I didn’t anticipate to make a lot progress so shortly, nonetheless.”

As of Friday, the marketing campaign has almost 1,800 individuals who have pledged $78,200 and counting. It continues till Feb. 14.

A few of the books residents have submitted complaints about embody “What Are Your Phrases?” by Katherine Locke, which explores how kids can ask about and use most well-liked pronouns amongst friends.

In a dialog with library system Government Director Tonja Johnson, McGee reportedly additionally talked about “The Queer Bible,” a group of essays from LGBTQ+ celebrities together with Sir Elton John and “Queer Eye” star Tan France, as a questionable title.

Most of the feedback left by those that assist the marketing campaign point out they’re additionally members of the furry neighborhood and encourage the library to face up towards hatred and discrimination.

Different members of the general public have additionally contributed and supplied assist because the wave started, together with a $100 donation from former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus.

“Don’t give into bigots,” Mabus wrote.

Soatok stated McGee’s actions go towards many American rights and freedoms, which he believes is why the trigger has resonated with so many.

“The liberty of speech, and of expression, and of the pursuit of happiness is so deeply intertwined with the American spirit that anybody who loves this nation will resist the calls for set out by Mayor McGee,” Soatok stated. “This isn’t only a furry sentiment, or an LGBTQ+ sentiment, however an American sentiment.”

Teresa Gerald, president of Pals of the Ridgeland Library, stated she’s been flooded with messages from residents because the choice was introduced late final month.

“The people who I’m listening to from are surprised that the mayor has taken this place,” she stated. “The feelings vary from surprised to indignant and I’m form of amazed and nonetheless having bother believing that he’s finished this.”

Gerald stated she hasn’t heard of something like this occurring within the three many years she’s lived in Ridgeland. She additionally by no means anticipated the fundraiser to get the form of consideration it has after EveryLibrary reached out to assist the system.

“We’re amazed and humbled by all these individuals who have by no means been to Ridgeland, Mississippi, or by no means even heard of Ridgeland, Mississippi, which are supporting this library,” she stated.

Gerald stated she’s reached out to representatives of the Ridgeland Board of Aldermen in regards to the challenge, however has solely been thanked for her suggestions to date. The board hosted a daily assembly Tuesday, however the funding matter was not on the agenda.

Copyright 2022 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Leave a Comment