Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SF Rainbow Flag to Fly at Half-Mast
for AIDS Heroine Ruth Brinker

(Ruth Brinker. Credit: Tim Kao,

Permit me to say a few things before getting to the main point of this post.

First, while I appreciate the praise from the Project Open Hand leaders, I must say my role in bringing about this flag lowering for the agency's founder was small. All I did was speak to the agency's director of government relations and nudge him to make the request to the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro to lower the rainbow flag on the day the city of San Francisco pays tribute to Ruth Brinker.

Second, I have many friends, both living and deceased, who have greatly benefited from the hot meals, nutritious foods and dietary counseling services provided by the agency. People with AIDS, women with breast cancer and anyone with serious illnesses in need of Project Open Hand's programs have received direct help from them, and the assistance all started because one woman cared for hungry people who were suffering.

Here's the info on the many ways we will be celebrating the life and legacy of this remarkable woman:

We invite you all to join us in commemorating Project Open Hand Founder Ruth Brinker and celebrating her good works and giving spirit at a public service on Monday, September 12th at 5:30pm in the North Light Court of City Hall. Guests are asked to enter City Hall through the Polk Street main entrance.

After a unanimous vote by the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro, the Rainbow Flag on the corner of Castro and Market Streets will be lowered to half-mast on September 12 to honor Ruth Brinker's contributions to the LGBT community.

This kind note arrived earlier today from Jim Illig, the government affairs staffer:

I talked to Steve Adams ([MUMC's president] who was on our Board for 6 years and still serves on the Finance Committee). He had already planned to lower the Rainbow Flag in honor of Ruth. It will happen on Sept. 12th to coincide with the celebration of her life we are hosting at City Hall. I gave your contact information to our special events team who will send you the event announcement.

Thanks for thinking of this public way to acknowledge Ruth’s contributions to the community.

And Hannah Schmunk, who is the communications director for the agency, shared this sweet message:

Thank you for your help in having the Rainbow Flag flown at half-mast in honor of Ruth. What a beautiful idea. I have attached the press release which includes information about the memorial service and the Rainbow Flag.

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