Jayden is five years old, and she’s the merchant of a lemonade stand right across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church’s Kansas headquarters. That would be all well and good, except for the fact that this particular lemonade stand has a special mission. Jayden’s “Lemonade for Peace” is situated on the grounds of The Equality House, a rainbow-painted edifice run by the nonprofit, Planting Peace.
One might wonder how a child so young would know about, let alone comprehend, the complexities of this figurative and literal face off between the two organizations. Jayden does come from a special family – her father is Jon Sink, founder of FRESHCASSETTE/Creative Compassion, a multifaceted art, music, and humanitarian organization. When Jon explained to his daughter the WBC’s message of hate and exclusion, Jayden got the idea to start a project to raise money that would go toward spreading the opposite kind of message. Thus, “Pink Lemonade for Peace: $1 Suggested Donation” was born, and now over $1,000 have been donated to Jayden’s cause, both in person and online.
When you think about it, Jayden’s reaction to Westboro Baptist Church isn’t hard to understand. Children that young aren’t inclined toward meanness and discrimination, even if they quickly learn those things by modeling adults and media. In general, though, kids are inclined to be forgiving, accepting, and overall to promote accord and happiness. Why take sides when we could be friends? Why fight and sulk when we could play and explore?
As might be expected, the WBC responded to the Lemonade for Peace stand with almost enough venom to match Jayden’s love.
But we all know which is the strongest of the two…
Photo credit: Megan Rogers