As we started the march yesterday morning from the Panhandle to Alamo Square Park to join up with folks from various other groups, I found myself looking every which way because I wasn't sure if we'd be attacked.
An atmosphere of fear had been created throughout San Francisco by news that a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer was coming to town to do a rally that would feature and draw white supremacists, Nazis and others. Charlottesville, where two week before an anti-fascist demonstrator was run over by a car driven by a white supremacist, was on everyone's mind, I'm sure.
The day before, Patriot Prayer cancelled its planned rally at Crissy Field and, instead, announced they would do a press conference at Alamo Square Park. That's why we were headed there, hundreds of us, under the banner of Queer Resistance.
At some point as we approached Alamo Square, I just decided it was foolish to be afraid. Surrounded by an amazing group of queer and straight compagni/compañeros, I was as safe as I could be.
At first, police wouldn't let us near the park, having barricaded it off for blocks around. We kept walking until we got to a point where we could see a group of demonstrators who had managed to be closer. After some pleas from activists, the cops relented and opened the barriers and we flooded into the intersection just outside the park, joining the others.
We rallied there for a while, at least 2,000 or more of us. Queer Resistance set up huge rainbow banners that I helped hold up. A celebratory atmosphere ensued. We had reclaimed the park, even if we weren't actually standing in it. Patriot Prayer never showed. That's when I heard from a reporter friend that they were moving their event to Pacifica, which is just south of the city.
After many speeches, the Alamo Square action decided to move to the Mission, a heavily Latino neighborhood. I started walking with them and at some point dropped off. I was texting my roommate and he was in the Castro, the gay neighborhood in which we live, at the rally and march there. I headed to the Civic Center, and watched the Castro march arrive. It was awesome. I saw many friends.
San Francisco made the white supremacists, Nazis and others feel extremely unwelcome yesterday. As Boston did the week before.
The work isn't over. The fight against racism, sexism, homophobia/transphobia and all forms of hate goes on. Every day.
It felt good to see my city come together against hate like it did yesterday.