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    Don’t Check Hate Out of the Library

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    On Saturday, June 11, the San Lorenzo Public Library hosted a Drag Queen Story Hour. Drag Queen Story Hour started in San Francisco and has spread around the world. This event was part of a series of events throughout the Alameda County Library system designed to celebrate Pride Month and uplift LGBTQ+ stories and experiences.

    During this event, members of the Proud Boys, a right-wing hate group, stormed the story hour yelling homophobic and transphobic slurs, with the obvious intent of threatening and intimidating the participants of the event. Panda Dulce, the drag queen featured at the event, had to be escorted away from Story Hour. But Panda Dulce did return to finish the story time to send a message to the disruptors and the children.

    I, along with over 60 fellow Alameda County LGBTQ+ elected officials and allies, joined together to condemn the LGBTQ+ hate crime by a white supremacist group during a family time Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Lorenzo Public Library on June 11 in a letter published on June 13.

    As part of a group of out and proud LGBTQ+ and allied elected officials and community leaders, I denounce the acts of hate during the Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Lorenzo Public Library, and send solidarity, support, and appreciation to all involved in organizing these and other events to promote pride and justice.

    Right wing violence and prejudice have been escalating and all people of conscience must unite in denouncing white supremacy, misogyny, and attacks on the LGBT community. Additionally, I urge our non-LGBTQ+ allies in offices across the region and state to provide additional support and affirmation to our community during these increasingly challenging times. I am honored to serve as an openly-LGBT official, and to fight for fairness and respect for all of our communities.

    Pride Month is supposed to be a time of love, pride, acceptance, and understanding; not a time of fear and hate. I continue to choose love and will not bow down to hate and those who traffic in it.

    Councilmember At-Large and Council President Rebecca Kaplan, who is the Vice Mayor of Oakland, was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016 and 2020. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland (https://twitter.com/Kaplan4Oakland) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Kaplan4Oakland/).