Thursday, January 08, 2015

Huge Rainbow Flagpole Activates Public Plaza 

While Mike and I were in San Diego last weekend, we made a visit to the Hillcrest Pride Flag display and public plaza, and saw that it's a marvelous instrument for engagement on many levels. Erected with much grassroots community support, small business backing and political power in 2012, the flagpole activates the plaza where it resides.

Centered on a median strip just off a major traffic intersection, the flagpole is surrounded by a flourishing and clean small park and hard to miss. An air of invitation and welcome beckoned as we strolled up the sidewalk to get a closer look. The entire plaza is clearly well-maintained.

Three plaques featuring text and photos about the history of San Diego's LGBT community and fight against AIDS encircle the metal pole. Several concrete balls suitable for sitting and resting a spell, line the outermost pavement of the monument with thick, flowering plants giving the urban public space a woodsy feel. The height of the plants create a sanctuary effect especially when you walk about the plaza a few times.

The one off-putting thing was labeling people with AIDS who died in the 1980s as "victims" in the text accompanying the plaque titled "From Adversity to Diversity", seen here. We were educated about the Blood Sisters effort to combat fear three decades ago about gay men donating blood by organizing blood drives.

The triangular plaque display is situated on a thigh-high round platform lined with three circles listing individual and business donors who made this LGBT rainbow flag and pride oasis a reality. To the right is Mike resting on one of the white concrete balls. 

The Hillcrest Business Association oversees the flagpole and park, maintains a Facebook page for the flagpole which gives info about how it's used on 9/11 to fly an American flag at half staff and that the plaza is a central focus of the local AIDS Walk and LGBT Pride March. 

When you're in the San Diego area, be sure to check out this stunning public display of pride and celebration located at University and Normal Avenues.

1 comment:

Stephen R. Stapleton, Sacramento, CA said...

I write to take issue with this phobia about the word "victim." It is defined as, "a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action." Clearly those who died and suffered from their infection with the human immunodeficiency virus were "harmed, injured, or killed" as a result of the action or event of becoming infected.
There isn't any shame or degradation in being a victim. At one time or another, we are all victims of something, from taunting to bad fashion or from a crime or a disaster. This left-wing fetish of not "labeling" people as "victims" is just nonsense. Words have meanings and using a term accurately and appropriately is nothing to be ashamed of. People were victims of HIV. Some triumphed over their disease, some did not, some triumphed through their disease, some triumphed in death, but all were victims of the tragedy of HIV.