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    Summer of Love, Pride and Resistance

    Summer of Love, Pride and Resistance

    Emotions have been riding high this summer in San Francisco. The year’s needed rains, our city’s successful June Pride and the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love have brought added magic to an already favorite season, and yet the ominous, repeated threats posed by the Trump administration to our basic unalienable rights remain. Strong messages of love, pride and resistance have been taken to the streets these past few weeks, with this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times highlighting just some of the many related events.

    Our cover was inspired by a recent, thought-provoking Harvey Milk Democratic Club social media post created by Paulina Maldonado, who took the top photo. She paired it with the black and white image, which was snapped in 1978 by our legendary photographer Rink. His photo shows Gay Freedom Day activists that year who challenged the Briggs Initiative and notorious homophobe Anita Bryant. The Briggs Initiative, Proposition 6, would have banned LGBT individuals from working in California’s public schools. We have these activists and others to thank. The hateful proposition on the November 7, 1978, statewide ballot, sponsored by conservative legislator John Briggs, did not pass. Marchers reminded onlookers of not only Bryant, but also (from left to right in the photo) Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Ku Klux Klan members and Idi Amin.

    This year’s Pride Parade held on June 25 included Gay Freedom Day organizers who marched in the 2017 “We Fought Back” contingent. It followed the “Resistance Contingent,” led by the SF Pride Board of Directors. That group was comprised of The Bayard Rustin LGBT Club, SF Black Community Matters, Justice for Mario Woods, African Human Rights, DeGenderettes, Bay Area Queer People of Color, Guardian Group, International Migrants Alliance, Mission High School Queer Students Alliance, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, Action Action, Indivisible, The Brady Campaign (with Pulse nightclub survivors), several local unions, and one of the 2017 community grand marshals: Alex U. Inn. These voices added to the normally celebratory event with a political statement reminiscent of the very milestone Pride commemorates, The Stonewall Rebellion. 

    A week later, on July 2, demonstrators again took to the streets in coordination with the nationwide Impeachment March. Here in San Francisco, the march beginning at 1 pm went from the Embarcadero at Justin Herman Plaza, where a rally was held, to the Powell Street BART Station and back. The organizers stated:

    “Donald Trump has been in blatant violation of the Constitution from the day he was sworn into the office of President. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to impeach an official, and it makes the Senate the sole court for impeachment trials. It is time that congressional representatives do their job and start the process to impeach this president. We believe president Trump has committed constitutional breaches, consistently lied, cheated, and enforces laws that primarily benefit him and his billionaire friends at the expense of the country.”

    This Saturday, July 15, yet another Anti-Trump Rally and March will take place in San Francisco at the United Nations Plaza from 2 pm–5 pm. Refuse Fascism (https://refusefascism.org/), the organizing group, declared:

    “The Trump/Pence Regime daily escalates its fascist attacks on immigrants and Muslims, on healthcare and the poor, on Black and Brown people, on women and LGBTQ folks, on the media, on the environment, on the right to protest, on the truth. We must say NO! Not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity. Never underestimate the power of the people rising up together with right on our side.”

    Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy expressed somewhat similar sentiments in 1967 before their lives were cut short. Even the Summer of Love was said to have died. While the social phenomenon benefitted progressive political movements, and left us with a tremendous artistic legacy affecting architecture, music, art, fashion and more, drug-fueled fast living came down hard. Well-intended idealists promising free food, free stores, and free nearly everything became overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of people who converged on the Haight-Ashbury. (A survivor was Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, https://www.healthright360.org/agency/haight-ashbury-free-clinics)

    As many dreams faded, a mock funeral entitled “The Death of the Hippie” was staged on October 6, 1967. Organizer Mary Kasper later told a PBS interviewer, “We wanted to signal that this was the end of it, to stay where you are, bring the revolution to where you live and don’t come here because it’s over and done with.”

    We know what she meant, and yet the spark that lit up the Summer of Love never fully went out. The words of San Francisco mayoral candidate Mark Leno during the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love still ring true: “It’s already been said that this is just an exercise in nostalgia, but I think this country could use a dose of the Summer of Love, and I think this country could be reminded that there’s nothing funny about peace, love and understanding.”