#NoHateSF - A Perspective on Counter-Protest
Originally published in The Bay City Beacon in August 2017.
San Franciscans gathered around the City to stand against white supremacists, almost all of whom were no-shows. Here’s what I saw.
Personally, I was torn all week – as I imagine the majority of the City was – on which counter-protest to attend. Do I use my white privilege as a human shield on the front lines at Crissy Field? Do I rally in the Castro with my Queer brothers, sisters and everything in between? I still have the National Lawyer’s Guild number sharpied on my arm, just in case.
Luckily, Patriot Prayer made the choice easier on everyone come Saturday morning by surrendering. In other words, they relinquished their permit and holding a press conference hours later than planned in Pacifica. “Surrendering” implies a battle, and they just wanted to talk, apparently.
I spent the morning making a new sign for the rally. My original sign – ”Where ya bots at?!” – didn’t make sense for a victory march. I wasn’t going to be looking at Confederates, Klansmen and Nazis. I was going to be marching with my Queer family, my San Francisco family – the Bay Area family – and my sign should reflect the parts of them that have become to grow in me, rather than the anger and, at times, even hate that I’ve relied on for so long.
Rallies, marches, and other demonstrations with massive groups of people tend not to be my thing because of my introverted tendencies. That didn’t happen with #NoHateSF. I made my way to the Castro in time to hear Juanita More and Honey Mahogany kick off the celebration of love. As we marched on Market street toward Civic Center, I looked at the the thousands of people around me holding hands and joining arms. This is what I had moved 3,000 miles across the country for; this is the sanctuary I hear promised to others, even if just for today.
My hands had love to hold, my mouth had joy to sing, and my feet had progress to make. This City of factions and friction came together in diversity and love. It gave even this eternal critic a little bit hope.