Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Equality march Sun. in San Jose

NEWS


heather@heathercassell.com

South Bay community leaders kicked off Pride Month announcing an Equality March for Unity and Pride that will be held June 11. Photo: Jo-Lynn Otto
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The South Bay is taking the lead in holding the Bay Area's Equality March for Unity and Pride Sunday, June 11 in San Jose.

The event is one of many satellite marches timed to coincide with the national equality march that will take place in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 15 community and government leaders representing Silicon Valley's LGBT and allied communities kicked off Pride Month June 1 announcing the march.

The march is the only one happening in the Bay Area, organizers said.

A solidarity march in San Francisco was canceled due to an unrelated event happening at the city's Civic Center, confirmed gay activist Kelly Rivera Hart and Sister Chola de Dah of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Oakland isn't on the list of participating cities on the Equality March for Unity and Pride's website.

Organizers said that buses will be available from San Francisco and Oakland to transport people to San Jose.

 

A return to its roots

At last week's news conference, community leaders called for people to return to community activism to defend the rights gained by LGBTs since the Stonewall riots in 1969, and more recently, during the Obama administration.

"We gather here today to announce that Pride Month must go back to its roots," said Bryan Aubineau, chief branding officer at Project More Foundation, one of the organizations producing the march in Silicon Valley. "We must come together in solidarity, inclusive of all backgrounds, sexual orientation, and gender identities in defense of our rights. We will fight to continue to be able to live comfortably, safely, and to be able to live our lives open and genuinely on June 11."

Gabrielle Antolovich, president of the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, was critical of President Donald Trump's administration.

"The new administration is almost like an embodiment of a backlash," Antolovich told the Bay Area Reporter following the news conference. She was referring to Trump's attempts to ban Muslim travel to the United States and his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as well as multiple states pushing so-called religious freedom legislation legalizing discrimination.

"It's everything all at once and that is very devastating," she said, pointing out that the center has become a meeting place for all communities that were once working independently. The coalition building harkens back to the late supervisor Harvey Milk's message about unity.

"So, one of the things that we keep doing is having discussions about the intersectionality of all the issues," Antolovich added.

The center has also been a central location for planning and preparing for Sunday's march.

The march is a grassroots effort backed by individual donors, in-kind donations from community organizations, and sales of equality march merchandise, organizers said.

The event cost $18,000 to produce, according to Aubineau.

"It's really important to have a strong visual of support for the LGBTQ community," said Maribel Martinez, a queer two-spirit woman who is director of the Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

She invoked the LGBT community's history of rising up against and resisting discrimination and prejudice from the Stonewall Riots to the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida last year.

"I think for many, it's an opportunity to come together and have that message of equality be visualized," she said at the news conference.

Martinez expressed her gratitude that the county's LGBT community is supported by its elected officials and people in general.

"When it comes to the LGBT community there is no better place to be than here in Santa Clara County," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, a straight ally. "We want to keep it that way."

Nathan Svoboda, president of Project More Foundation, agreed.

"We are a progressive LGBTQ community here," he said. "We want to make sure that we are seen and given opportunities to speak and be represented, have a voice that is heard and seen."

 

Everyone is welcome

Organizers said that everyone is welcome to participate in Sunday's march.

"We want to make sure the Bay Area feels welcome," said Svoboda. "We are hosting, but we want to make sure all the Bay Area communities of LGBTQ and allies are welcome and feel like they have a place to come to that day and have their voices heard."

At the rally, marchers will be able to learn about what their community leaders and elected officials are doing to protect their rights as well as meet with representatives of community organizations and countywide agencies that provide services to the South Bay's LGBT community, organizers said.

"I think it's an event that will make people think," said Antolovich.

The march kicks off at 11 a.m. at San Jose City Hall, , 200 E. Santa Clara Street, and proceeds down 4th Street to the rally at Cesar E. Chavez Plaza. The rally ends at 3 p.m. For more information, visit https://domoreproject.org. Free shuttle buses are available from San Francisco and Oakland to San Jose. Space is limited. Registration is required. The shuttles will depart from the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street, and Oakland from the MacArthur BART station. Buses leave from their respective locations at 9 a.m. and return from Plaza de Cesar E. Chavez in San Jose at 4 p.m. To register, contact Alex U. Inn at themommasboyz@gmail.com, or visit www.equalitymarchsj.org.

 






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