Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cleve's Milk Day Rally at Jane Warner Plaza
Competes With Milk Plaza Event

Just yesterday I blogged about a grassroots effort San Francisco queer and allied activists have planned for Harvey Milk Day at the public plaza named for him in the Castro, which includes a speak-out and singing action from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

At the end of our fun-filled events at Harvey Milk Plaza, we will then march in protest to the Human Rights Campaign store where Harvey once operated a de facto community center and camera shop.

Today I get the May monthly newsletter from District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener and learn about these activities:

Harvey Milk Day
Sunday May 22nd
Jane Warner Plaza at the Corner of Castro and Market

Come celebrate the 2nd Annual Harvey Milk Day. This California State holiday will take place on the birthday of Harvey Milk. We will meet at Jane Warner Plaza on the corner of Castro and Market Street at 1:00pm for a rally with speeches from friends of Supervisor Milk, including Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg as well as his nephew Stuart Milk. After the rally, there will be a march down Castro Street to the site of Harvey Milk's camera shop. ...

So much for unity in the gay community. Instead of joining the activists across the street on May 22, the Official A-Gay Keepers of the Harvey Milk Flame will be holding a separate set of speeches, before they stage their own march down Castro Street to ye olde camera shoppe. No word on what exactly they will do when they arrive.

We grassroots activists intend to demand transparency and democratic engagement from the HRC organization, at their souvenir store, when both processions will have ended at the same location but with vastly differing agendas.

Since January, activists such as Tommi Avicolli Mecca, members of Queers United for Economic Empowerment Now (QUEEN), and myself have held public meetings and talked to lots of activists about creating street actions of all sorts to honor Harvey on May 22, and focused on pressing contemporary issues.

We never heard from the folks putting on the rally at Jane Warner Plaza, but we are aware that Wiener and the head of the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro recently held a closed-door meeting at City Hall to plot their May 22 events. Why did the crew putting on this other rally fail to hold a single public meeting about their plans?

One thing I think we all can agree on is that May 22 in the Castro is going to be an interesting day highlighting the different approaches and agendas with the gay movement.

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