Planned for SF?
Last week, the Bay Area Reporter editorialized about the January 24 Equality California leadership summit taking place in Southern California and asked a rude question, one that has yet to be answered by EQCA and the San Francisco/Northern California organizing committee members.
Why can't the organizers recognize the need to hold a comparable summit in our fair city?
Now that the LA summit is open to gay press and bloggers, and journalist Karen Ocamb has published the agenda on the web, and lots of people have signed up to attend, I applaud EQCA and the organizing for the work they have done thus far to be open and truly transparent.
But this matter of why a San Francisco version can't be organized by EQCA, and let me remind everyone that the lack of a summit here comes in the larger context of not a single community forum in the Castro, shouldn't be swept under the rug.
I've read stories and opinions from Southern California-based journos Ocamb in LA, Rex Wockner in San Diego, and Patricia Nell Warren, that only address the need to have full media access to the summit. The gay writers raise no concerns about the dearth of community forums up here in the last two-plus months, with none on the horizon.
The failure of EQCA, gay elected officials, and the many paid Gay Inc advocacy executives in San Francisco to put on not just one forum, but three or four of them, is not healthy for the local and regional communities. It's not enough to have dozens of Bay Area activists flying down to this weekend for the summit, and I'm pleased so many from up here are making the trip.
But nothing can replace the beauty and community-muscle-flexing benefits to gain when San Francisco revives the dormant practice of holding gay public gatherings.
From last week's BAR:
There are plans for a summit in Los Angeles (where No on 8 lost) later this month that reportedly will include No on 8 leaders. Where is the summit for San Francisco? Organizers were notably mum about committing to such a meeting, instead passing off some sort of "regional planning group" as a future meeting.
A deeply troubling aspect of the upcoming LA summit is the rumblings about restricted media access. We've noted before that such a muzzle on the media is a grave disservice to the LGBT community as we attempt to reorganize and refocus our efforts at attaining marriage equality. It doesn't make sense to us. There needs to be an assessment of No on 8's performance; a campaign funded with millions of donor dollars.
What are they afraid of?
The LA summit should be public and open to all. Sure the anti-same-sex marriage forces likely will eavesdrop, but at this point, there has been breathless analyses of the Prop 8 campaigns, the vote, the money, the involvement of Catholics and Mormons, and on and on. It just boggles the mind that anyone would accept such outlandish conditions as restricted access and secrecy..
Back in October, we ran the big "Red Alert" headline precisely because of a severe lack of fundraising and community complacency attributed to misleading polls. Yet now it seems that very same complacency has begun to creep back, as many don't seem to be concerned that there is currently no plan for a public meeting here. Spirited protests can only do so much; and while No on 8 leaders have praised the activism, they are missing the larger point that we need an honest – and public - examination of their shortcomings in order to move forward successfully.