San Francisco Supervisor Holds Safety Meetings With Upcoming Gay Pride Festivities

This article first appeared on NBC Bay Area and can be found here.
By Ankita Bhanot

In the wake of the mass shooting that shook Orlando on Sunday, a San Francisco supervisor is taking steps to ensure that the LGBT community in the Bay Area won’t suffer the same tragic fate, especially as the June Pride Parade is two weeks away.

Supervisor Scott Wiener announced on Monday he will bring together members of the “LGBT nightlife community” and the San Francisco Police Department later this week to discuss preparations for the upcoming San Francisco pride celebration, which last year drew one million people. The Gay Pride weekend kicks off June 25. And there are no plans to cancel it, police and politicians said.

"This is an important conversation to have now so that everyone attending Pride can focus on the joyful reasons we are all together, and not be fearful of those threatened by our way of life, ” Wiener said in a statement.

His comments come after a Sunday night rally and vigil, he helped organize at Harvey Milk Plaza, where rainbow-colored flags and banners lit up the area, and stretched to City Hall.

Wiener tweeted he wanted "to honor/remember Pulse Nightclub victims and to recommit ourselves to fight hate."

"We will win," he added in a separate tweet.

Business owners in the predominantly gay Castro neighborhood, which Wiener represents, were also not deterred and vowed to take proactive measures to ensure that almost 50 years of the Gay Pride festivities would go off without a hitch.

Tim Eicher, co-owner of Castro area bars Beaux, Q Bar, Midnight Sun, and Mix, said he plans to review security measures at each of his venues and significantly increase security staff throughout Pride.

"With Pride right around the corner, we are doing everything possible to ensure that we keep our employees and customers safe,” Eicher said. “It is important not only that we remain alert and vigilant to these threats, but also that we continue to celebrate our Pride, support our Community, and enjoy our rich and vibrant nightlife."

This year will mark the 46th annual Pride Parade, which takes place every year in the Castro and Civic Center area. According to the SF Pride website, their mission is to "educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people," which they achieve through concerts, parties and parades that take place throughout the weekend.

Although the shooting has caused grief across the nation, Wiener said he recognizes that the month of June still belongs to the pride of the LGBT community, and should be celebrated. Bay Area communities outside of San Francisco, including San Jose and Oakland, also payed homage to the attacks, by holding rallies and flying rainbow-colored flags at half-staff to mark the deaths of those killed at the nightclub.

“No act of violence -- even one as evil as what Orlando experienced on Sunday -- will stop us from coming together to celebrate the LGBT community at Pride this year,” Wiener said. “More than ever, we need to show the strength and love of our community to the world.”


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