A little bit of history: The Salvation Army Kettle “Dollars” Protest

I am still hearing about folks using Salvation Army kettle “dollars” to let the Salvation Army know of their disapproval regarding the organization’s homophobic/transphobic policies.

The first Salvation Army kettle protest “dollars” that I know of were created in November 2001 by Mary Scholl, then President of the PFLAG Genesee County, MI chapter. The graphic and the chapter’s “Letters and Information Concerning our Salvation Army Project” used to be on the chapter’s website but I couldn’t find them there now. And this article below is not now on theadvocate.com website that I could find with the site’s search, but I had it saved, so here it is:

Secret Service investigating PFLAG protest
The Advocate, 12/28/01

The U.S. Secret Service has launched an investigation after some Michigan gay rights advocates placed slips of paper resembling dollar bills into Salvation Army donation kettles as a sign of protest against the organization’s refusal to extend benefits to the same-sex partners of its employees.

A Michigan chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays mounted the protest at the start of the holiday season.

Many members placed “reminder bills” into the army’s Christmas collection kettles instead of an actual cash donation.

The fake bills read, in part, “I would have donated $5, but the Salvation Army’s decision to discriminate against gay and lesbian employees prevents my donation now and in the future.”

But some of the reminders may have looked a little too much like real money. Salvation Army officials in Flint, where the protest began, said they were contacted by a Secret Service agent investigating the phony bills as possible counterfeiting.

“[The agent] was quite concerned,” said Maj. Ralph Bukiewicz, Genesee County Salvation Army commander. “In addition to some of the standardized slips that were dropped into the kettles, there were some from PFLAG that had actually duplicated [currency], changing some of the wording.”

Protest organizer Mary Scholl, who is president of the Genesee County chapter of PFLAG, said that another Secret Service agent left his card on her door before Christmas, but she has not contacted him yet.

Scholl said the protest bill, which was available for downloading from PFLAG’s Web site, had obvious differences in appearance from actual currency. “It looks like a dollar bill, but it’s very small, with a little square that looks like a rainbow,” she said.

Secret Service officials declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.


And there is was an update which is also posted here:

The slips were similar in design to a one-dollar bill but smaller, emblazoned with a rainbow logo, printed on only one side, and in no way mistakable for United States currency. Nevertheless, a few days before Christmas, Mary Scholl, the president of the Genesee County PFLAG chapter, came home to find on her door the card of a United States Secret Service agent, instructing her to call him. (The Secret Service is the agency in charge of investigations of counterfeiting.) Instead, Scholl–refusing to be intimidated–consulted a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union. No prosecution of PFLAG members occurred.

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