Monday, December 23, 2013

Mandela Tribute: SF Milk Plaza on MLK Day Jan 20: Flag Lowering?

(From the left, Ian McKellen, Phumi Mtetwa, Nelson Mandela and the late gay AIDS advocate hero Simon Nkoli. Photo taken in February 1995. Public domain image.)

A diverse coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists are turning disappointment into hope, after San Francisco's Mayor Lee and the Castro Merchants refused to lower the iconic rainbow flag in the heart of Gay Mecca in honor of Nelson Mandela, upon his death earlier this month.

This alert gives the outline of our plans for January 20 and we're asking you to put the tribute and date on your calender, spread the word about the tribute and if you support this project to leave a comment with your name, group identification if any, and location in the comments.

Many thanks to the initial list of folks embracing this important project. Here's the text of the alert:


Dear Friends and Allies, 

We are collaborating together on an important project, one that we believe is of interest to you and your commitment to social justice. 

This coming Martin Luther King Jr holiday, celebrated on Monday, January 20, 2014, we will gather in historic Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco's LGBT Castro district to honor the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela. 

Plans are in development to pay respects to MLK, Milk and Mandela, and to recommit ourselves to the shared struggles for racial, gender and sexual identity justice and freedom here at home and around the world. 

A request will be submitted before the end of December to Mayor Ed Lee and the Merchants of Upper Market Castro to work with us, and to either lower the rainbow flag at the plaza or raise the South African flag on MLK Day. At that point, we will seek signatures from activists endorsing the request. 

Please mark your calendar and plan to join us on January 20th in Harvey Milk Plaza as we pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and his inspiring legacy. 


Hugh Brockman and Henry Bantjes
Gay Flag
Johannesburg, South Africa

Veronika Fimbres 
African-American Transgender Advocate 
San Francisco, CA, USA 

Shaun Haines
Bayard Rustin Coalition, Member
San Francisco, CA, USA

Jason Latty-Travis
Caribbean Alliance for Equality, President
Newark, NJ, USA

Davis Mac-Illaya
Nigerian LGBT Advocate in Exile
London, UK

Melanie Nathan 
Marin County Human Rights Commission, Member
Marin, CA, USA 

Denis Nzioka
LGBTI and Sex Work Activist
Nairobi, Kenya

Michael Petrelis 
Gays Without Borders, Member
San Francisco, CA, USA

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