The Story of overcoming Hate, Prejudice and Fear
By Ashley Watson
Driving along 12th Street in Southwest Topeka, a brightly painted one-story house stands out from the mid-century homes. Most people know this house as the “Rainbow House” due to its colorful paint job reflecting the Pride flag.
Aaron Jackson, founder of Planting Peace, purchased the Equality House in 2013. Planting Peace is a global nonprofit organization. Planting Peace proclaims “Peace” as its mission stating the organization was, “founded for the purpose of spreading peace in a hurting world. Our projects focus on a range of humanitarian and environmental initiatives, including our multi-national deworming campaign; a network of orphanages and safe havens in developing countries; LGBTQ rights advocacy; Equality House and Transgender House; and rainforest conservation efforts in the Amazon.”
What is the Equality House?
The Equality House is a symbol of compassion, peace, and positive change in both the Topeka community and the world at large. Planting Peace hopes the house “serves as the resource center for all Planting Peace human rights initiatives and stands as a visual reminder of our commitment, as global citizens, to equality for all.”
It also makes quite the statement at 1200 SW Orleans St., nestled directly across from the Westboro Baptist Church hate group campus.
Visitors are welcome to the House. They are able to walk the property, take photos and help out/help themselves to veggies from the community garden. Also, if able, visitors are encouraged to donate.
What are some things the Equality House has done?
The Equality House made quite a splash when it moved to Topeka to directly combat the hatred from the neighboring Westboro Baptist Church. Travelers have come from all over to see the house and feel supported by its message.
The Equality House has hosted many events including: LGBTQ weddings, drag shows, and NoH8 photoshoots. In addition to events, the Equality House has helped to raise awareness and funds to be used for anti-bullying, to help those with HIV/AIDs, and more.