Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Obama, SF Mayor: Lower Flags for
WI Sikh Tragedy: Rainbow Flag Too?

(Harvey Milk Plaza late this afternoon. Credit: Bill Wilson.)

Earlier today, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued the following statement and directive:

Statement: “San Francisco grieves with those affected by the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin. Now, more than ever, we must work together to reduce gun violence, embrace diversity and keep our communities safe.”

Directive: As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Mayor Lee in accordance with President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation has ordered that flags on all City grounds and buildings be flown at half-staff until sunset, August 10, 2012. 

This explains why when I was shopping for fresh produce for Big Mike and I today at the United Nations Plaza farmers' market, the U.S. and UN flags were at half-staff. As I rode my bike home past City Hall, I saw that the U.S., California and San Francisco flags were flying as ordered by Ed Lee and Barack Obama.

It was not even a month ago that the nation mourned the tragic loss of lives due to easy access to guns in Aurora, Colorado, and a similar presidential proclamation was released. As I noted and documented here, many flagpoles on public and private property honored the victims and survivors of that massacre, except the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro District.

My friend Bill Wilson was in the Castro today and snapped the photos you see here, showing the LGBT community's flag on city real estate at the crossroads of gay America has not honored the requests from our mayor and president.

I hope that the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro and Supervisor Scott Wiener will break their unfair and unequal rules governing private control of this important piece of public property. Please, MUMC and Wiener, lower the rainbow flag and show LGBT visual solidarity with the Sikh community of Wisconsin, the victims killed by the gun violence and their surviving friends and family.

This is part of the president's directive

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, August 10, 2012.

I've made a request to Mayor Ed Lee to nudge MUMC and Wiener to fly the rainbow flag at half-mast until August 10, and I hope contacts them and succeeds with getting the Harvey Milk Plaza flag lowered.

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