Friday, February 04, 2011

David Kato/Gay Uganda SF Rally Attracts 100+;
DC, NYC Stage Vigils
[Click the pix to enlarge!]

(At sunset, the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza flew at half mast for David Kato. Credti: Clinton Fein.)

(Activists hold up "Stop the Violence" signs at Harvey Milk Plaza. Credit: Clinton Fein.)

(John Weber, past Emperor of the Imperial Court, was the engaging emcee, who really gave much anger and emotion to the pain we are all feeling over David Kato's death, and he reminded us of the murder of Emmett Till on U.S. soil. Credit: Danny Nicoletta.)

(Clinton Fein requests that everyone call Giles Muhame, the editor of the Rolling Stone tabloid in Kampala, on his cell phone: 0712-609-665. Tell him what you think of his role in fostering anti-gay bias. Credit: Danny Nicoletta.)

February 3 was a day on which three American cities saw gay activists and our allies hit the streets over the brutal murder of gay Ugandan David Kato, and we warm San Franciscans must laud our colleagues in DC and NYC who braved freezing temps and howling winds.

The day started with a picket outside the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton, then in the afternoon a speak out happened at Uganda's Mission to the United Nations. Thanks, east coasters, for not letting a little inclement weather stop us from our appointed duty for global gay solidarity.

The goddess provided me with the activist tools and comrades I needed to pull off a very successful rally honoring David Kato, starting with stirring up the Castro merchants, having them agree to lower the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza at half mast, ending with a fabulous turnout for our early evening protest.

I'm pegging our number at 100-plus for the hour we were rallying. Our roster of speakers included Melanie Nathan of LezGetReal who is working to secure UK asylum for lesbian Ugandan , Rev. William H. Knight of MCC/SF spoke about loving one another every day, Sister Pat N Leather distributed safety packets, Victoria Grace asked us to embrace her and all transgenders, Gary Virginia of Gays Without Border said we all bleed red blood, and I stated my opposition to the death penalty, everywhere and in every case.

Sister Phyliss With Joy brought the rally to a rousing and emotionally uplifting conclusion, leading us in singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." I printed up the lyrics on slips of paper to hand out.

I'm sure as heck not paid to perform this community organizing, so it means much when praise comes my way, which is not all that often and tonight someone I respect, Jeff Cotter of the Rainbow World Fund sent me this note:

"Thank you for organizing tonight's rally. I was really touched by what you said and by all of the speakers. The whole event was inspiring. I was amazed that you got MUMC to lower the flag - it was really moving to see it at half mast. You are a tough cookie."

Yeah, and I ain't done with MUMC yet!

Words alone cannot say thank you enough from my heart to all the folks who all came out tonight, or freely gave of themselves to promote the action or otherwise backed our solidarity action with enthusiasm. You all, along with our frozen friends back east, did fine work today on behalf of David Kato and sending solidarity and hope to our brothers and sisters in Uganda.

Here's a terrific video of our speak out. It was made by James Oliviera and gives a great sense of what took place:

UPDATE on February 21:

My friend Raymond Hong, the longtime community videographer, was at the rally has made some videos of the event. This is part one of his report:

And here is the second part:

Thanks much, Raymond, for this latest great act of reporting and for your years of service to the community.

1 comment:

Ann Garrison said...

Thanks so much for making the effort to have the rainbow flag lowered to half mast in honor of David Kato. I'd like to suggest that LGBT activists also consider giving some attention to the broader Ugandan, and African, context of this, e.g., the disastrous state of public education in Uganda, which encourages the fearful, judgemental, fundamentalist Christianity behind David Kato's murder.