Please watch video through to the end…
I was going through my archival footage of some speeches I have given in recent years and heading into San Francisco Pride weekend, could not resist posting this on my blog for there first time. (See link below)
It was in 2014 that I was most honored to be recognized as community grand marshal by San Francisco Pride Board for my global human rights work. This resulted in Patrick Carney, the founder of the Twin Peaks Pink Triangle Commemoration, inviting me to deliver a keynote address at the 2014 installation ceremony. The annual commemoration event, traditionally attended by elected and appointed official, as well as activists and community, memorializes the LGBTQI victims who were persecuted and killed in concentration camps in Nazi Germany starting in 1933 through the end of WWII.
The pink triangle symbol has since evolved into an important reminder for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community of the continuing homophobia and inhumanity against them and other repressed minorities around the world. One side of Twin Peaks, north hill facing the Castro district and downtown San Francisco, is transformed for one weekend each year, into a memorial, by installing a giant pink triangle made up of dozens of pieces of pink canvas that can be seen from miles away during SF Pride weekend each year.
This was an extraordinary opportunity for me to touch on much needed awareness for several issues in a short 5 minute speech, notably the parallels between Nazi Germany and African regimes which persecute LGBTQI people, the aspect of criminalization of LGBTQI people and how that gives license to persecute, the issue of exile and shortcomings in our asylum and refugee laws. Ultimately the message was NEVER AGAIN – and our failure to honor the latter if we ignore what is going on now.
Please watch this speech – noting its 2014 context – The Ugandan “Kill The Gays Bill!”
What I realized in watching this again, is the fact that 5 years have gone by and things have become worse on many levels for Africa’s LGBTQI community. As noted back then, while we make strides in Western countries, Africa continues to be fertile ground for those who want to ensure the eradication of homosexuality. The scapegoating through Evangelical preaching and enhanced anti-homosexuality legislation, persists and not much has changed. If anything we have reached a crisis point in the refugee system’s treatment of gays. Its simply inadequate.
*SF Chronicle article: Pink Triangle rises again as symbol of pride for LGBT community
*KPIX CBS Bay Area video(1:35): Pink Triangle, Symbol of SF Pride, Rises Again Above the City
*The Six O Clock News on KTVU Fox 2 (2:49): Reporter Leigh Martinez reports on the iconic Pink Triangle display atop Twin Peaks in San
PINK TRIANGLE WEBSITE HERE. Please note volunteers are needed to install on Saturday 29th – and its a lot of fun!
Taking this opportunity to remember Mayor Ed Lee, standing behind me in the video, who sadly passed away, and noting his crucial support of the San Francisco LGBTQI Pride community and events.
BY MELANIE NATHAN
Advocacy: African Human Rights Coalition
Mediation: Private Courts
Follow me on Twitter – @MelanieNathan1