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    In the News: 5.17.2018

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan–

    Immigrant LGBT Youth and Supporters Rally Outside DACA Court Hearing

    On May 15, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments concerning President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The program has protected at least 700,000 individuals since it began accepting applications on August 15, 2012. As the court hearing this week took place, dozens of LGBT immigrant youth from across the state and supporters, including members of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), rallied outside of the courthouse in Pasadena. Some held up signs that read: “Unidos, No Divididos. Immigración Es Un Tema LGBT.” (United Not Divided. Immigration Is an LGBT Issue) According to the Williams Institute, the vast majority of LGBT DACA participants are in not only California, but also Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida. Many legal experts believe that the DACA decision will eventually end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. As the legal battles wage on, San Francisco continues to offer numerous immigrant resources. For a comprehensive listing, go to:

    Debate Over Sanctuary City Law Heats Up San Francisco Mayoral Race

    Mayoral candidate Angela Alioto authored San Francisco’s original sanctuary law in 1991 when she was a member of the Board of Supervisors. She has now introduced a ballot measure to have violent felons exempted from the law’s protections. Mayor Mark Farrell and mayoral candidates Mark Leno and Jane Kim immediately fired back. Mayor Farrell told KTVU: “I would say don’t attack our community, don’t attack our immigrants here in San Francisco, don’t buy into the Donald Trump rhetoric. In San Francisco we support our immigrant community. We always have and we always will.” Leno tweeted, “I’m disappointed to see this step in the wrong direction. Now is the time to fiercely protect our sanctuary status, not weaken it. Sanctuary keeps our neighborhoods safer, our families together, and our communities free of fear and distrust.” Alioto, in turn, told ABC 7 that when the original sanctuary city law was written, the intention was that “if you are convicted by a jury of a violent felony, rape, murder, mayhem or a crime punishable by death, then you will not be protected by the city’s sanctuary law. It’s just that simple.” The code was later amended in 2013 and 2016. Alioto needs more than 9,400 signatures by mid-July in order to get the measure on the November ballot. This debate will therefore go well beyond the June 5 special election for mayor. The present Sanctuary Ordinance may be read in full at

    Jane Kim and Mark Leno Alliance Highlights Importance of Ranked Choice Voting

    In an historic announcement, San Francisco mayoral candidates Jane Kim and Mark Leno released a joint campaign ad “Standing Together” on May 10, urging voters to rank them as their first and second choices in the City’s ranked choice voting system. Proponents of ranked choice voting hold that it eliminates the need for run-off elections and offers other benefits. In an editorial, the San Francisco Chronicle—which previously endorsed London Breed—holds that Kim and Leno are “gaming the city’s ranked-choice election rules in an unprecedented way.” ( Conversely, Vox argues: “All politicians ‘game’ whatever system they operate in.” (

    Flags Flown at Half-Staff Following Passing of Police Commissioner Julius Turman

    On May 13, the former president of the San Francisco Police Commission, Julius Turman, was found deceased inside of his home. Close friends have indicated that he was battling an illness, which likely led to his resignation from the Commission on May 4. Turman, a proudly openly gay man, was a defender of human rights and a fierce advocate for equality and justice. Mayor Mark Farrell said, “As a longtime member of the Police Commission, Julius Turman provided honest candor and oversight, working tirelessly to make this City safe and secure for everyone. He was a voice of leadership who helped build trust and camaraderie between the men and women of the police department and San Francisco residents.” As a mark of respect for the memory of Turman, Mayor Farrell directed flags to be flown at half-staff on Monday, May 14, from sunrise to sunset at City Hall and San Francisco Police Department buildings. (See “In Memoriam” on page 18.)

    Bill to Establish June as Pride Month Passes Assembly

    Legislation to establish June as Pride Month in statute passed the Assembly on May 14 by a bipartisan vote of 59–0. Assembly Bill 2969 is authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, and co-authored by all members of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. AB 2969 is supported by Equality California and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The month of June is historically significant for the LGBT community. The Stonewall Riots occurred in New York in June 1969 to protest police targeting of the city’s LGBT population. These riots and the swift political organization that followed are widely considered to be the commencement of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. The California Legislative LGBT Caucus was established in 2002. Its role is to present a forum for the California Legislature to discuss issues that affect LGBT Californians and to further the goal of equality and justice for all people. The formation of the LGBT Caucus made California the first state in the country to recognize an official caucus of openly-LGBT state legislators. Historically, the LGBT Caucus Chair introduces a resolution each June during a formal ceremony to declare June as Pride month. AB 2969 will codify in statute every June as LGBT Pride Month. AB 2969 now heads to the Senate.

    Doris Ward’s Life and Legacy to Be Celebrated

    Doris Ward, the first African American president of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, died on April 14 following a brief illness. She was 86. A celebration of her life and legacy will be held on May 19 at the Delancey Street Foundation. Featuring music and speakers, the event will take place from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. Private services were already held in Gary, Indiana, where Ward grew up. We expect that more celebrations of Ward’s achievements will be announced, given her groundbreaking work, particularly on issues of racial and economic equality.

    American Military Partner Association Launches New Program Focused on Families with LGBT Kids

    On May 12, at the organization’s 5th annual national gala, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), one of the nation’s largest organizations of LGBT military spouses, families, and allies, launched a new program focused on education, advocacy, and support for military families with LGBT children. The new program, called MilPride, will be led by Jessica Girven and Amanda Brewer, military mothers of transgender youth who have had to face challenges and discrimination in navigating the military system. “We are so excited to launch this new program focused on supporting our nation’s military families with LGBT youth,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “Military families already have to face extraordinary sacrifices and challenges in their service to our country, and those families with LGBT children face even greater barriers due to a lack of support and resources. Both Amanda’s and Jessica’s families have had to face heartbreaking discrimination while being stationed in places that weren’t as welcoming to LGBT military kids as they should be, and they know firsthand why this program is so important. We are so grateful for their vision, passion, and leadership, and we’re excited to have them on the AMPA team.”    

    ‘Bigbelly’ High Tech Trash Bins Have Been Installed in the Castro

    Brand new high-tech trash bins called “Bigbelly containers” have automatic compacters inside, allowing them to hold five times more waste than a regular receptacle, and they are outfitted with wireless automated real-time technology that immediately alerts collectors when they are full. Mayor Mark Farrell and the City’s Fix-It Team have installed five Bigbelly containers in the Castro District, and are set to add five more each in the Central Market, Civic Center and Tenderloin neighborhoods, as part of a partnership with local Community Benefit Districts. “These trash receptacles have a proven track record of success,” said Mayor Farrell. “They are efficient, smart answers to our cleanliness problems. Our neighbors, families and business owners deserve to live in communities that are clean and safe, and these bins will help us reach that goal.” Because of their smart use technology systems, Bigbelly receptacles reduce unnecessary waste collection services, while eliminating windblown litter and trash flows. The bins accommodate landfill, recycling and compost streams at a single location, and they operate on solar power. “The Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District is excited to be partnering with the City on the Bigbelly project,” said Andrea Aiello, Executive Director of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District. “The Bigbelly cans in the Castro have been placed in very high trafficked areas and we are hopeful they will help keep these corners clean. 

    Women’s Building Now Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

    As of April 30, the Women’s Building in San Francisco, 3543 18th Street, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. The Women’s Building (TWB) in San Francisco’s Mission District represents a powerful physical embodiment of the values and achievements of second wave feminism during the mid to late twentieth century, and the movement’s efforts to secure social justice and gender equality for women and other minorities (LGBTQ/racial/ethnic). As one of the first and longest tenured women-owned and women-operated women’s centers in the U.S., TWB represents a significant, high-profile model for the establishment and operation of similar facilities nationwide.

    Reimagine Harvey Milk Plaza Holds Final Community Meeting

    The community is getting close to a new design for Harvey Milk Plaza. After three community meetings and online feedback, Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza (FHMP) showed the proposed design to the community on May 15 at Sanchez Elementary School. The ultimate new design will honor Harvey Milk, be built with the goal of universal access, will take some important steps to ensure more access to the MUNI station and to the memorial exhibits, and will increase safety by closing the station at night at the top of the stairs. 

    San Francisco Pride Announces Celebrity Grand Marshals and Special Guests

    San Francisco Pride will welcome writer and producer Our Lady J and dancers Jose Gutierrez and Luis Camacho as Celebrity Grand Marshals for the 48th Annual LGBT Pride Parade and March. In addition, transgender activist Gavin Grimm will be a Special Guest in the Parade, as well as one of the speakers on the Main Stage of the Celebration and Rally in Civic Center Plaza. “We are thrilled to welcome these talented and inspiring individuals into our extended Pride family,” said George F. Ridgely, Jr., San Francisco Pride Executive Director. “Our theme this year, Generations of Strength, encourages us to celebrate not only the decades of art and activism that have led up to present day, but to showcase the brave work of today and tomorrow.” Jose & Luis, members of The Legendary House of Xtravaganza, provided a breakthrough window into the world of ballroom culture. Together, they choreographed the video for Madonna’s “Vogue.”