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    The Power of One, The Power of All, The Power of Pride

    By Joanie Juster–

    It was reported last week that the thunderous energy created by the audience at Taylor Swift’s concert in Scotland generated seismic waves. Quite literally, the Swifties made the earth move.

    That’s how Pride month feels: a super-powerful concentration of positive, proud energy that moves the world, making waves and rocking the status quo. Each year it becomes bigger, bolder, more visible, more part of the fabric of society as a whole. That’s the power of our collective energy and will.

    And all that movement takes stamina. Pride Month is a marathon, not a sprint. I hope you have all saved enough energy to enjoy the final week of events and activities.

    What amazes and inspires me every year is the amount of time, energy, inspiration, and passion that goes into creating all these events. Pride is a labor of love. The beauty of Pride Month doesn’t happen because someone waved a magic wand. Every event is the product of endless hours of planning and hard work from countless people—often, mostly, volunteers. The signs of Pride we look for each year, from the Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks to the hundreds of rainbow flags lining Market Street, are the result of someone who had a vision, and found ways to turn that vision into reality.

    Of all the important Pride events, it’s the public, outdoor events that have a global impact. There is no more powerful symbol of freedom than seeing thousands of people living their lives openly and proudly. The world is watching, and taking note.

    Those opportunities to take to the streets, sharing a vision of Pride with the world, take months of careful planning, thinking through every detail, anticipating safety and accessibility concerns, finding ways to fund the costs, getting the word out so everyone can participate. When you join the People’s March, Trans March, Dyke March, SF Pride Parade, or any other public event, think of all the work that went into creating a space where you can celebrate Pride publicly—and consider pitching in to help. Every one of the Pride events runs on volunteer power, so think about how you can be part of making the magic happen.

    Here are two big volunteer opportunities on Pride weekend where you can make a real impact:

    • The Pink Triangle needs many volunteers to help take the Triangle down on Sunday, June 30, after the SF Pride Parade, and store it for next year. Sign up here:

    • SF Pride needs many more volunteers to help on Sunday, June 30. There are many different positions to choose from. Sign up here:

    See you in the streets.

    Resilience in the Face of Resistance

    In case we all needed a reminder that not everyone out there is thrilled with Pride month, over two-thirds of the 250 Pride flags at the Stonewall National Monument in New York City were vandalized recently, for the second year in a row. There have been plenty of other reports of pushback against Pride all over the country, ranging from vandalism and hate speech to clueless displays of chest-thumping Heterosexual Pride gatherings.
    But at the same time, Pride parades and celebrations are sprouting up like golden poppies all over, in towns large and small, and often in places where you would least expect them. Here’s to every community, every school, every small town in a red district that is proudly flying their rainbow flags and announcing that love is greater than hate. Let’s keep standing up and speaking out, loud and clear. The power of Pride is in our collective voices.

    Living Life Golden Showcases 20+ Artists

    While Pride is most visible in all the parties and performances, there are plenty of other ways Pride is being celebrated. You may have missed the opening night festivities, but do not miss the 10th Annual Harvey Milk Art & Pride Exhibit at the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts & Photo Center. Titled Living Life Golden, the show is a community exhibit curated by Nicola Bosco-Alvarez, and includes work by over 20 artists. Hours for the center can be variable, so check for exhibit hours and information:

    Leather District News

    The latest newsletter from our friends at the Leather & LGBT Cultural District was packed with news. Among their latest activities:

    • They have completed an important study to help determine their priorities and plans for stabilizing their cultural community. Their Cultural History, Housing, and Economic Sustainability Strategies Report (CHHESS) is the result of much study and community engagement. It was passed at a City Hall committee hearing on June 13, and went to the full Board of Supervisors for a vote on June 25. I will share more in the next issue!

    • After years of effort to convince San Francisco to provide placemaking signage within the Cultural District, new street signs reading “Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District” will be added to 26 street signs within the district over the next 18 months. These will be going up in stages, so keep an eye out for them. Along with other signage—leather pride flag pole wraps, light pole banners, and colorful crosswalks—the street signs will help publicly define the district.

    • In May, the District hosted another Narcan Training & Overdose Prevention Workshop, offered by “Narcan Queen” Kochina Rude. These trainings are a key tool in preventing overdoses. In addition to providing the 30 participants with a kit including two doses of Narcan and a supply of fentanyl test strips, the District has sponsored an additional 3,000 fentanyl test strips in entertainment venues within the District. Thanks to SF Oasis and Success Centers for making this training possible.

    • The District is hosting free walking tours on July 6 & 7 at 11 am. “SOMA Origins: Bars, Bathhouses, and Beyond” will be led by District volunteers. The tours will start and end at Ringold Alley, and will run one hour and 45 minutes. Registration is required.

    To register for the walking tours, or for more info on all of the aforementioned about the District, go to:

    That’s it for now. May you carry the spirit of Pride with you throughout the year!

    Joanie Juster is a long-time community volunteer, activist, and ally.

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    Published on June 27, 2024