The Cypress Project

August 21, 2006
The Cypress Project
Contact: David Weintraub, 703.431.0882


(August 21, 2006) A coalition of churches, businesses and organizations today announced the launch of The Cypress Project, a foundation dedicated to the healing and restoration of those targeted by anti-gay hate crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Cypress Project developed out of the response of community members to the recent hate crime that occurred in Aldie, in which a home owned by a gay couple was vandalized.

There were two reasons for creating the foundation, according to Equality Loudoun president David Weintraub, one of the initiators of the project. “People were contacting us, wanting to know what they could do to help, how they could reach out to this couple who were targeted. In keeping with the wishes of Heyward and John to try to turn this horrible experience into something positive, we wanted to help direct all that energy and outrage into healing,” said Weintraub.

“The other reason is our concern that this could happen to someone else,” he continued. “Our hope is that this project allows the whole community to affirm with one voice that hate and intimidation directed at anyone is unacceptable. At the same time, we’re aware of what has happened in other communities that have anti-gay legislation on the ballot, and we want to be there if this incident turns out to be the beginning of an escalation of violence against our community.”

Community groups that have endorsed the project or issued statements condemning the hate crime include some that normally don’t agree on much of anything, added Rev. Jeremy McLeod of Wellspring United Church of Christ, including organizations as divergent as the Community Levee Association and the Progressive Action League. “It’s a very promising sign that these communities can join together for the sake of civility, in spite of very different beliefs and positions on the issues,” he said.

The initial undertaking that gives The Cypress Project its name is the restoration of the property vandalized in the Aldie attack. The project will engage the community in replanting the more than 170 cypress trees and boxwoods that were destroyed.

A community work day has been scheduled for Saturday, October 14. Individuals, churches, businesses and organizations can donate, sponsor trees to be planted in their name, sign up to volunteer, or endorse the project by visiting

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2 Responses to The Cypress Project

  1. Maria Villacampa-Ascaso says:

    I personally know and dearly love John and Heyward, whose property was vandalised so savagely in Aldie. I’m thankful to your organisation for the positive moral and physical help you have given them. I’m a great believer “what goes round, comes round”, your generosity will be repaid. Kindest regards.

  2. David says:

    Thank you, Maria! The work day on October 14 was wonderful, with over 30 volunteers, and many, many more who donated money, sent notes of support, a neighbor who made fudge for everyone – I think we were done with the replanting within an hour. If the perpetrators intended to crush Heyward and John’s spirit, they ended up doing just the opposite, by bringing out such a loving response from the community. The Cypress Project has pictures here. Thanks so much for commenting.