Reform Jewish Congregations to March together as one Community on June 29, 2014!
By Melanie Nathan, May 29, 2014.
For the first time, the 25 Reform congregations in the greater Bay Area will march together in the San Francisco Pride Parade, June 29, 2014. Reform Jews from across the Bay Area will march together as one united group to show our solidarity with the Pride movement, proclaim support of civil and human rights, and demonstrate our own strength in numbers.
The Congregations, showing great strength and commitment note: “Join us as we will stand together as one Reform Jewish community!”
As a Community Grand Marshall for this year’s San Francisco Pride, I am extra proud to note this supportive stand being taken by my own Jewish community here in the Bay Area, especially given this year’s critical theme, which recognizes our global advocacy work – “Color Our World With Pride.” From past Pride to this Pride, this year has been one of great hardship for LGBTI people around the world:
India and Russia saw a regression with harsh new anti-gay laws. In Africa countries went beyond the draconian old penal Codes, and enacted harsher anti-gay laws. LGBTI people in Uganda and Nigeria can now be jailed for many years, up to life in prison, for same-sex relations. So called promotion of homosexuality can land people in jail for up to 4 years.
These scapegoating laws, used as political tools, have resulted in persecution by government and populace alike. In Uganda alone 163 cases of extreme persecution have been reported since the Anti-Homosexuality Act passed a Parliamentary vote in December , 2013, and this is a tip of the iceberg. After it was assented to by President Museveni, Red Pepper Magazine, the most widely read paper in Africa outed LGBTI people under a headline “Uganda’s Top 200 Homos.”
Parents and families banished people from homes and villages. LGBTI people were fired and evicted as employers and landlords feared being cited under anti-promotion laws. And so these outings and the anti-gay fervor, sustained by the a law that has given tacit license to “mob vengeance”, has resulted in people having to go into hiding.
And so to see such strong support from our Jewish community, one which has its own history fraught with similar scapegoating and persecution, is extremely encouraging.
Let us hope, that this faith based contingent and others will embrace this years theme with the acute awareness it deserves and see this years Pride as an opportunity to embrace those from abroad who we hope will have the opportunity to join us here in the Bay Area – and for that I ask you to stay tuned!
Learn more information about San Francisco Pride here and the 1.5 million people who will line the street in celebration.
The Parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 29 at Market & Beale and ends at Market & 8th Street in downtown San Francisco.
Note: The reform congregations have supported pride for many past years by marching in the Parade. This is the first year they are doing it in unison.