Thursday, December 10, 2009

SF Mayor: Halt Uganda's Homo-Hate;
'Circle of Love' on Human Rights Day

(Activists link arms and send a message to Uganda. Photo credit: Clinton Fein.)

A crowd of nearly forty people gathered for thirty-minutes today at the Ugandan pillar in United Nations Plaza, and stood in unbending solidarity with gay Ugandans. Under a cloudy sky, signs were taped to the pillar, voices were raised, passersby offered support, and a successful visibility action took place, for gays on the other side of our small planet.

Mayor Gavin Newsom had a message read by Supervisor Bevan Dufty deploring the Anti-Homosexuality Bill under consideration in any form. Anna Damiani shared a statement from her boss state Sen. Mark Leno. South African-born Clinton Fein spoke about American Christians advising Uganda's president.

African-American transgender and HIV/AIDS advocate Jazzy Collins denounced Ugandan politicians. And Gary Virginia of Gays Without Borders criticized the demonization of gays everywhere.

Among the participants were representatives from many orgs including the Market Street Marijuana Cooperative, Restore Equality 2010, the Rainbow World Fund, St. Francis Lutheran Church, and One Struggle/One Fight.

From the media, Fox affiliate KTVU sent a cameraman, KCBS News Radio had a reporter cover us, as did the Bay Area Reporter and the Bay Times.

After everyone spoke and the reporters asked their questions, we assembled into a "Circle of Love" around the Ugandan pillar. We wanted to symbolize surrounding Uganda's borders with an embrace full of acceptance and tolerance from gays and allies in San Francisco, extended to all of Uganda.

We did some old-fashioned call-and-respond chants. As you read the words on your screen, say them, or if you prefer, shout them out, as a vocal act of solidarity:

"Gay Ugandans under attack. What do we do? ACT UP! Fight back!"

"Lesbian Ugandans under attack. What do we do? ACT UP! Fight back!"

"Transgender Ugandans under attack. What do we do? ACT UP! Fight back!"

"Ugandans with AIDS under attack. What do we do? ACT UP! Fight back!"

Many big thanks to all who made the vigil such an achieve of solidarity. It wouldn't have happened without you.

And to gay Ugandans, we have a message for you: San Francisco officially, politically, spiritually and unconditionally are with you in your time of need.

A few pics from the vigil:

(Uganda's pillar at UN Plaza was redecorated today. Photo credit: Bill Wilson.)

(Jazzy Collins addresses the crowd. Photo credit: Bill Wilson.)

(Encircling the Ugandan pillar and chanting. Photo credit: Clinton Fein.)

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