New York University freshman Hillary Dworkoski started her petition against New York’s only Chick-fil-A on Jan. 20. Nearly a month later, she has amassed over 6,300 signatures protesting the fast-food chain for what some believe to be its anti-gay affiliations.
“Chick-fil-A’s charity organization WinShape has donated almost $2 million to anti-gay groups, including hate groups and groups that try to cure gay people,” she said.
According to Dworkoski, one of the groups that Chick-fil-A has donated to, Exodus International, uses therapy to try and cure gay people from their sexual orientation.
The organization is deeply religious and claims to offer “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ,” the website of Exodus International reads.
For her and 6,300 others, the financial support Chick-fil-A has provided to these organizations is unacceptable.
New York’s sole Chick-fil-A is located in a NYU dining hall. Voted as the most LGBT-friendly school by the Princeton Review in 2011, NYU has a track record of being open to the LGBT community. Dworkoski pointed out the contradiction.
“I chose NYU out of the many schools I applied to last year mostly because of the diverse and accepting community found here,” Dworkoski, who is bisexual, said. “Having Chick-fil-A on campus undermines this aspect of NYU that makes it so great.”
While she continues to lobby and protest the company, Dworkoski’s campaign to shut down the company has already spread to universities around the nation.
Marshall University freshman Ross Gardiner read about Dworkoski’s efforts on his news feed.
“She’s trying to start change there and that inspired me,” Gardiner said.
Gardiner recently started up his own petition on Change.org, spreading the word through word of mouth and Facebook.
“Even though it’s only been a week, I have noticed that some people were visibly affected about what I told them,” he said. “They were shocked by finding out that information.“
A similar campaign has also popped up in Boston. Northeastern alumni Adam Sell also initiated his campaign on Change.org and has been in contact with Dworkoski for advice.
Unlike at Marshall University and at NYU, Northeastern’s Chick-fil-A has yet to be built.
“We want to stop them before they start breaking ground,” Sell, who has been getting in touch with LGBT advocacy groups in Northeastern said. “To try to convince people that being gay is a choice is a absolutely morally repugnant view to espouse.”
Sell’s petition, which has been up for a week and a half, has attracted over 400 signatures.
“This was something I could do (that) was small,” Sell said. “I feel like preventing my school from saying my community is less than human is something small I can try to accomplish.
Though none of the protesters have received any formal response from Chick-fil-A, they plan to continue their boycott and campaign to raise awareness.
“Most of the administration is probably ignorant that Chick-fil-A supports these anti-gay groups,” Sell said.
Dworkoski is planning to go to the Chick-fil-A with a group of supporters to raise awareness and pass out flyers.
“There are a few students here who oppose it simply because they love their waffle fries,” Dworkoski said. “When I hear this, I ask them if they would give up their human rights for waffle fries.”
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