Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 46 / 16 November 2017
 

Installation begins on next round of SF LGBT history walk plaques

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, left, AT&T store manager Devina Ewing, and Rainbow Honor Walk Board Member David Perry unveiled one of seven new plaques for the Honor Walk on Castro Street during an event June 3 at the Powell Street AT&T store. Photo: Rick Gerharter

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, left, AT&T store manager Devina Ewing, and Rainbow Honor Walk Board Member David Perry unveiled one of the new plaques for the Honor Walk on Castro Street during an event June 3 at the Powell Street AT&T store. Photo: Rick Gerharter.

Work has begun to install the next set of eight plaques for the Rainbow Honor Walk, a project in San Francisco’s gay Castro district that celebrates deceased LGBT luminaries.

In September 2014 the first group of 20 LGBT individuals who left a lasting mark on society was honored with bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk on the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street and a portion of 19th Street.

In June of 2016 the next set of 24 names to be added to the walk was revealed, though organizers of the project opted to add the plaques for the LGBT historical figures in batches as the estimated cost to pay for production of the 24 individual bronze plaques is $120,000.

This past June the names of the first octet and their plaques to be embedded along upper Market Street were unveiled at the AT&T Store downtown and displayed there during Pride Month. Employees with San Francisco Public Works began tearing up the sidewalk along Market Street near Castro Street this morning (Monday, November 6) to begin the process of securing the plaques in the ground.

On the south side of Market Street, where the Chevron gas station is, between 17th and Noe Streets will be plaques for drag queen Jose Sarria, a gay man who founded the Imperial Court system; Rikki Streicher, who owned several now-closed San Francisco lesbian bars and helped found the Gay Games Federation; Glenn Burke, the first out Major League Baseball player; and We’Wha, a Zuni Native American two-spirit/mixed gender tribal leader.

On the north side of Market Street, where the Pottery Barn store is, will be plaques for lesbian astronaut Sally Ride; gay Iranian poet Fereydoun Farakzhad; lesbian lawmaker Barbara Jordan; and gay Japanese-American civil rights activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya.

Project co-founder David Perry, a gay man who owns an eponymously named public relations firm, told the Bay Area Reporter that all eight of the plaques could be laid into the sidewalk as early as this Thursday.

“Never has it been more important to celebrate the contributions of LGBT heroes and heroines,” stated Perry, who chairs of the Rainbow Honor Walk’s board, in an emailed reply. “With these next eight Rainbow Honor Walk honorees, we turn the corner from Castro onto Market Street. One day, we hope these stories in bronze will pave the way all down Market Street to inspire new generations of activism, education and justice.”

The eight plaques cost $48,437.61, with all of the money to pay for them raised from private funds, wrote Perry. The honor walk board has banked $31,000 to date to cover the cost for the next 16 plaques and continues to raise funds to cover the entire amount needed.

“I’m quite confident we’ll have all the funds needed for manufacture and installation of the final 16 before Pride 2018,” Perry told the B.A.R. this week.

Since the new plaques were “unveiled” in June, Perry said the project’s board isn’t planning to host a big event with media and local dignitaries to celebrate their installation. Instead, it is working on plans to hold a small reception sometime this month to mark the public debut of the project’s second phase of plaques.

For more information about the Rainbow Honor Walk, as well as longer bios about all of the honorees, visit http://www.rainbowhonorwalk.org.

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 6, 2017 @ 4:14 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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