Wednesday, September 07, 2011

SF Ex: Castro's 9/11 Rainbow Flag Lowering;
Mark Bingham's Mother Backs Event

(The Milk Plaza rainbow flag, yours truly, and Bill Wilson. Credit: Mike Koozmin, SF Examiner.)
At 1 PM this Sunday, gay activists and allies will come together at the center of Harvey Milk Plaza, as the base of the rainbow flag and pole, to remember all who perished on 9/11 and especially two gay heroes, Mark Bingham and Father Mychael Judge.

There will also be a minute of silence at 1:30 PM, in coordination with a concert that will be taking place in nearby Jane Warner Plaza and his hosted by the Castro Benefit District (CBD). Yes, both public plazas near the Castro, Market and 17th Street intersection are holding simultaneous events that being at 1PM on Sunday.

We've been in touch with CBD executive director Andrea Aiello, to coordinate and complement both events. She suggested the wonderful idea of a minute of silence to commemorate lives lost on 9/11 and to unite both events in the Castro's two public plazas.

The minute of silence will happen at 1:30 PM, to allow both events enough time to get started, inform attendees about the silence, have it happen early in our respective programs, then get on with the music and remembrances.

Longtime community photographer Bill Wilson, is knocking himself out organizing the Milk Plaza event, reached out to Bingham's fabulous mother Alice Hoagland to make her aware of our plans to honor her son. Alice has endorsed the Sunday event and also sent Bill a touching statement to read that day. She will be in Pennsylvania on Sunday, at the site of the crash of United Flight 93.

Please join us at 1 PM this Sunday, where will have an open mic speak-out session, thanks to Billy Bradford of Marriage Equality USA, who will set up his fantastic sound system for all to use.

Finally, Amy Crawford at the San Francisco Examiner has an excellent piece today about the flag lowering and remembrance planned for Sunday. Here are excerpts:

Since it was first raised in 1997, the giant rainbow flag in the Castro’s Harvey Milk Plaza has flown at half-staff only five times despite a steady stream of requests. But on Sunday, it will be lowered for the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. ...

Last month, Petrelis and fellow activist Bill Wilson requested the flag be lowered Sept. 11 to honor Mark Bingham, who died on Flight 93. Bingham, a gay Castro resident, was one of the passengers who tried to stop the hijackers.

Wilson and Petrelis said MUMC initially ignored their request, but last week the board changed its tune. Also, the flag will stay at half-staff Sept. 12 at the request of AIDS charity Project Open Hand, whose founder Ruth Brinker died in August.

[Castro business owner Isak] Lindenauer said he was happy with those decisions, but he remained unsatisfied with the process for determining who will be honored.

“I just don’t think the flag belongs to anyone specifically,” he said.

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