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 Goths brighten community with cleanups and toy drives

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Virgo Rat
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PostSubject: Goths brighten community with cleanups and toy drives   Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:15 pm

Goths brighten community with cleanups and toy drives

The thing about Goths is that they actually do go out in the sunshine.

To believe the stereotype about the all-black-wearing subculture, it would seem as though Goths just hang around in dark rooms, reading Edgar Allan Poe and crying.

But Lora Williams wants to prove otherwise.

In 2006, she helped form the Gothic Volunteer Alliance, a group of charitable San Diegans with a penchant for black eyeliner. The organization of about 50 members does everything from beach and garden cleanups to food and toy drives.

The GVA has adopted a portion of South Mission Beach and a garden in Old Town which it cares for and regularly cleans.

“We want to change the misconceptions of the Gothic community,” Williams said. “People think we’re depressed, we’re suicidal, we’re violent, that we’re Satanists. We’re actually pretty average people, and we want to show that we care about our community just as much as anyone else.”

It’s quite a sight to see a group of Goths picking up garbage at a sunny beach, especially since the group prides itself on having pale skin. But Williams said the community has responded positively.

Like whenever the group puts up a booth at Balboa Park’s Earth Day festival, it does more than recruit new members.

“A lot of people come to the booth and tell us about their children who are wearing black and listening to a certain type of music,” Williams said. “It gives them a chance to talk to us and see that we’re mature, responsible people.”

And who better to understand than Williams, an accounting worker by day, who said she always had a darkness to her personality, even as a kid.

Back in the late 1980s, when she listened to bands like Sisters of Mercy and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Goths were known as sophisticated, well-read students.
But then came Marilyn Manson and his theatrics.

And after that was the (false) association with the Columbine killers.

So in the last few years, Goths have been labeled as freaks and weirdos and, like Williams, have even been attacked for looking different.

In September 2006, Williams was having drinks in Old Town with her husband, Mark Williams, along with prominent radio personality Robin Roth and Roth’s husband, James Howard.

“These people, just, I don’t know, saw us and didn’t like how we looked,” said Williams.

The group was both verbally and physically assaulted by two men, sending Howard to the hospital for injuries.

A month after the attack, the four friends were contacted by an international group that was trying to change the perception of Goths through volunteerism. Though that group disbanded after a year, the San Diego chapter continued independently in October 2007.

Williams said members include everyone from high school students to grandmothers in their 60s. And most importantly, all are welcome, even if your favorite color is pink.

The GVA is holding an open meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. today along with a Toys for Tots drive at Twiggs Coffee House in University Heights.

“Volunteering time to such a worthy cause is so important to me. I strive to educate others about the misconceptions surrounding the subculture,” said Roth. “As one of four people that was assaulted several years ago, I understand how important GVA is to the community. Targeting someone just because they look different is wrong.”

It is nice to read something positive about the Gothic community.

”Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." ~H. L. Mencken

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Leo Snake
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PostSubject: Re: Goths brighten community with cleanups and toy drives   Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:16 pm

^^ I agree. It's great to see positive coverage. I'm sure it surprises some people -- and as long as they pay attention long enough to be surprised, that's good. clap

It actually made me really happy to read it.
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Leo Cat
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PostSubject: Re: Goths brighten community with cleanups and toy drives   Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:19 pm

Woah?! Goths are always sad and mopey? Shocked [/sarcasm]

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