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Inside Olney Library, children and their parents listened and laughed during an enjoyable noon-time program of drag queen story time.
Outside, some 100 local members and supporters of the Parasol Patrol, a national organization formed to protect children’s eyes and ears from the “hateful speech of protesters,” according to the website, stood outside the library to welcome visitors as Disney music played to drown out any potentially unpleasant exchanges.
The group, organized by County Councilwoman Kristin Mink (D-Dist.), carried rainbow-colored umbrellas, or parasols, to help shield children from potentially ugly words or behavior.
“We are here to welcome families and support the event,” she said, adding, “We do not engage with protestors.”
The Feb. 26 story time was held in conjunction with Olney Theatre Center’s current production of “Kinky Boots.”
Drag shows, including library story times across the region and country, are frequently met with protestors.
A handful of protesters carrying signs stood along Olney-Laytonsville Library (Route 108) at the driveway entrance to Olney Library. A few walked down the driveway to the parking lot near the door of the building, but little interaction was noticed.
County and state officials, including County Executive Marc Elrich, District 7 Councilwoman Dawn Luedtke and State Sen. Craig Zucker (D-Dist. 14), were on hand.
“It is importance for this community to show up,” Elrich said.
He said the story time going on inside Olney Library “looks like any other storytelling looks like.”
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