MELROSE PARK, IL, April 22, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – This afternoon the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, Scalabrinian and Stone Park community residents held a press conference to celebrate the victory in preventing the strip club “Get It” from opening next to the convent.
This group, along with P.A.S.O.- West Suburban Action Project, organized a grassroots campaign that resulted in a 500-people vigil in Stone Park, (the largest public demonstration in the town’s history) as well as over 3,000 signed petitions against the strip club and international, national and local media attention. The community sent a resounding message: “Get It, Get out!”
“We came together as a community, as people of faith and stood together fighting for family values against what some thought was an unbreakable giant,” said Sister Noemia Silva, Missionary Sister of St. Charles, who chaired the press conference. “But just as David fought and triumphed over Goliath, we too stand here today proud of overcoming the impossible. We will continue to stand for a safe and healthy Stone Park that respects family values and the integrity of each person.”
Pat Zito, resident of Melrose Park for 45 years, stated, “I raised my children in this community. And though I live in Melrose Park, my rights are also being infringed by this strip club. My children were concerned for my safety if this place opened, for what it would bring. I am proud to stand with the Sisters in this struggle and that we were victorious over vulgarity.”
Yesenia Sanchez, executive director of P.A.S.O.- West Suburban Action Project, a local social justice organization agreed. “We are proud to stand with the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles and the community members who courageously stood up to uphold the family and community values that are core to a healthy and vibrant community,” said Sanchez. “We applaud you for your work and will continue to stand with you in this struggle. And to any potential buyers of this strip club, learn from Get It’s mistake. A strip club in this location is and will be a bad investment. This community is ready and organized!”
Sister Noemia stated, “We call on the Mayor Mazulla, Mayor of Stone Park and village officials to enforce the state law which prevents the placement of a strip club within 1,000 feet of a place of worship. The Convent is located just a few feet from the strip club. If they will not enforce the law, then we call on the village of Stone Park to allow the courts to rule on the law before letting this strip club open. If you truly stand for the well-being of this community and its families, either enforce the law or support this lawsuit.”
Peter Breen, Executive Director of Thomas More Society concluded, “The Illinois law that provides a 1,000-foot buffer zone around places of worship from strip clubs is clear, valid, and constitutional. This sort of law has been enforced repeatedly by courts across the country, and our Illinois law has been enforced by at least one downstate court and even been upheld on appeal. The 1,000-foot buffer also extends into Melrose Park, protecting the people of Melrose Park, too. If the Village of Stone Park does not heed the call of the Sisters to enforce the buffer law, we are ready with a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations to seek relief from the courts.”