Out of Hate, Comes Hope

Loudoun Connection
September 6, 2006
By Erika Jacobson

Activist organizations, religious groups, political bodies and companies have banded together to create a foundation, The Cypress Project, which will support any person in Virginia who is the victim of a hate crime.

The foundation, whose creation was announced two weeks ago, was established as a response to a residential vandalism in Aldie, which the Sheriff’s Office is investigating as a hate crime. July 29, deputies responded to the home, on the 24000 block of Laceys Tavern Court, where they discovered 70 cypress saplings had been cut down and 100 boxwood bushes had been pulled from the ground. Gasoline was poured over a portion of the front lawn. Antigay slang was spray painted on the driveway, mailbox, the street in front of the house and on the lawn.

The Cypress Project, which was named for the trees that were destroyed in Aldie, was created in the few days that followed the incident, David Weintraub, president of the gay rights group Equality Loudoun, said, because of the overwhelming response from the community.

“After talking to [the homeowners], it was clear they wanted to turn it into something positive,” Weintraub said.

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