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see pictures from october 14

who we are

The Cypress Project is dedicated to the healing and restoration of those targeted by anti-gay hate crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

why we exist

In the early morning of Saturday, July 29, 2006, an Aldie home belonging to two gay men was vandalized, with damage estimated to be around $10,000. More than 170 trees and boxwoods were either ripped out of the ground or cut down, and the word FAG was spray painted on the driveway, mailbox, fence, and on the street in front of the home. An accelerant had been poured on the lawn and around the house.

The couple was asleep inside the home during the attack, along with visiting relatives including a nine year old niece. The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident as an anti-gay hate crime. To read more and view photos, see Equality Loudoun.

What is a hate crime?

A hate crime is unlike any other crime. It is explicitly intended to inflict spiritual violence, not only on an individual, but on the entire community of which the individual is a member. Read more

We believe that the best way to respond to such a hateful act is to transform it into its opposite: a project that brings a broken community together and leaves it stronger than it was before.

The mission of this project is to engage the community - the many, many friends and strangers who have come forward to express their outrage and their desire to effect healing - in the restoration of not only Heyward and John's property, but their sense of safety as well. When it is acceptable for any individual to be targeted because of who they are, whether because of their religion, ethnicity, appearance, what they believe, or who they love, none of us is safe. When we allow this to happen to any person because they are unlike us, it diminishes us all.

Save the date and spread the word:

Saturday, October 14, 2006 will be our community work day to help Heyward and John replace the trees that were cut down. Click here to volunteer, donate or sponsor a tree in your name.

You can also help by making your voice heard in letters to the editor and the online forums of our local newspapers. Papers with online forums are:

Leesburg Today
Loudoun Times-Mirror

Thank you for your support.