Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

News Briefs: Events planned to counter 'Patriot' rallies


Drag queen Juanita More! is one of the organizers of Saturday's Come Together rally. Photo: Courtesy Juanita More!
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LGBT activists and others have announced a series of counterdemonstrations to the planned "Patriot Prayer" free speech rally at Crissy Field Saturday, August 26 and a rally by the same group in Berkeley Sunday, August 27.

The National Park Service on Wednesday approved Patriot Prayer's permit request for Crissy Field, which is part of the federal Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Last week the Bay Area Reporter editorialized against people going to the Crissy Field and Berkeley rallies, instead urging people to attend counterdemonstrations at other locations. The paper's view is that those who are against the white supremacists and neo-Nazis shouldn't give them attention by staging a counterprotest at the same location.

People are planning to gather August 26 at noon at Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market streets, for "Come Together," a peaceful rally. Drag queen Juanita More! is one of the organizers and will be joined by longtime gay activist Cleve Jones and others.

Those who attend can then march down to Civic Center Plaza, where former San Francisco Pride main stage producer and entertainment commissioner Audrey Joseph has organized "Peace, Music, Laughter" that will start between noon and 1 p.m. and end at 5. Joseph wrote on Facebook that the stage will include performers and there will be activities for kids.

Joseph announced additional speakers and performers, including DJ Brian Kent, drag queen BeBe Sweetbriar, Momma's Boyz, and emcee Ronn Owens from KGO radio. National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell is also scheduled to speak.

Patriot Prayer's Sunday rally is at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley. An ad hoc group is planning a rally against hate from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Crescent Lawn near the UC Berkeley campus at Addison and Oxford streets downtown.

"We are an ad hoc working group composed of residents of the Bay Area – people of color, working class people, immigrants, queer, gay, bi, and trans people, Muslims, Jews, Christians, liberals, leftists, and others," organizers Alex Schmaus and Shannon Malloy said in a news release. For more information, visit

Gay San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis announced that he has applied for a Park Service permit to hold a news conference at Crissy Field Friday, August 25 at noon, followed by a candlelight vigil and speak out that evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Additionally, Jones and Deb Stallings, vice president of development for the Horizons Foundation, said that they have launched a fundraising campaign for various nonprofits.

Dubbed the Hate Free SF Fund, the project will raise money for several organizations, including the Transgender Law Center, the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP, the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, NCLR, the National Immigration Law Center, the Jewish Community Center, La Raza Community Resource Center, and the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center. To donate, visit


Benefit for Oakland LGBT center

Gay comedian Sampson McCormick will perform at a benefit show for the new Oakland LGBT Community Center Sunday, August 27 at 3 p.m. at the center, 3207 Lakeshore Avenue.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a recent article, the Oakland center is scheduled to open Thursday, September 7, just before the city's Pride weekend festivities.

The Oakland center will provide counseling, mental health services, housing referrals, support the local arts community, and other services. Community leaders Jeff Myers and Joe Hawkins worked to make the center a reality; Myers is board president and Hawkins is executive director.

"In times like these, and when bringing the community together, laughter is one of the best things that we can have," said Sampson, who uses his first name professionally. "I am happy to be supporting the center and our community with the gift of laughter."

The suggested donation for the show is $20, although no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The center is on the second floor of a building that houses T-Mobile on the ground floor. The entrance is on the Rand Street side of the building. The center has an elevator and is wheelchair accessible.

For more information on the center, visit


Berkeley LGBT center raises new flag

The Pacific Center for Human Growth in Berkeley has added a rainbow flag that includes black and brown stripes in an effort to signal progress toward greater inclusivity.

Leslie Ewing, executive director, said in a statement that the Pacific Center decided to add the More Color More Pride flag "to encourage us to act now if we truly believe 'it gets better' for us all."

The new rainbow flag was first unveiled in June in Philadelphia. It was created by the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs' More Color More Pride campaign and flown at City Hall.

"Since then, other cities and organizations like Pacific Center have added More Color More Pride flags," Ewing stated. "There have been mixed reactions and the change is not embraced by everyone. To Pacific Center, the response reminds us that progress toward greater inclusivity requires us to offer more than mere symbols, like flags. This is just a symbol of a great opportunity to embrace and value our diversity."

Ewing said that the traditional rainbow flag and transgender pride flag also fly outside the center. The rainbow flag, created by the late Gilbert Baker in 1978, has flown outside the Pacific Center, 2712 Telegraph Avenue, since it opened that same year.

"We know that walking up our stairs past that flag can sometimes be hard for a first time visitor," Ewing said, referring to the traditional flag. "We also know how effective the flag is in sending a message to everyone who passes by that we aren't going anywhere and deserve respect."

Ewing said that she encourages other LGBTQ organizations and community centers to join the Pacific Center in adding the new More Color More Pride flag.

For more information on the Pacific Center, visit


Jones to speak at LGBT Catholic event

Cleve Jones will speak at Dignity San Francisco's Fourth Sunday event August 27 at 3:30 p.m. at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1329 Seventh Avenue (near Irving).

Dignity/San Francisco is a self-governing faith community of LGBT Catholics and their families and friends. It is a local chapter of the national Dignity/USA.

Jones, a longtime AIDS survivor and gay activist, was mentored by the late Harvey Milk in the 1970s. In 1983 he co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and five years later, founded the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Last November, his new memoir, "When We Rise," was published and it served as a partial inspiration for the TV miniseries of the same name that aired in late February.

According to a news release, Jones will speak about how his Quaker background and upbringing shaped his approach to activism. He will also discuss why activism is essential and where it is going in the Trump era.

The event is free.



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