Thursday, June 30, 2016

In the News: Hoodline

You Have Your Own Dancing To Do': A Farewell To The Castro's Orlando Memorial

A group of about 100 people gathered at last night for a solemn, heartfelt and often emotional final farewell to the 49 LGBT people who were murdered on June 12th at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 
Led by Sister Merry Peter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Pastor Megan Rohrer of Grace Lutheran Church, the evening culminated in the reverential removal of the dozens of flowers, photographs, votive candles, rainbow flags and other mementos that had been placed in front of the Bank of America building at 18th & Castro streets.
The memorial's removal comes after candles left at the site caused a small fire on Monday morning. While the fire was put out quickly and caused no structural damage, the Castro CBD decided the memorial needed to be taken down for safety reasons—but not before a final farewell from the community.
Sister of Perpetual Indulgence's Merry Peter beginning the blessing ceremony.
photo: steven bracco/hoodline
The service opened with an invocation from Sister Merry. "Let's have a moment of silence for Orlando, for Istanbul, for Syria and for the Bayview," the Sister said. "We are coming together as a community who built this memorial that is a focus for our grieving. It's time to open the space to joy."
"We want to make sure that before we take [the memorial] down, we get it out," Pastor Rohrer, the first openly transgender leader to be installed in a Lutheran congregation, told the assembly. "We must live our lives for remembrance—that all who wonder if their lives matter are ensured that their lives are sacred."
Rohrer held up 49 small signs, one for each of the 49 people killed in Orlando. The crowd applauded as each sign was held up one by one, and randomly handed to various attendees.
"Queer lives matter," stated one sign.
"We're here, we're queer, get used to it," said another.
"Gun control is a gay issue," stated a third.
Pastor Rohrer then invited mourners to step up and speak if they were moved to do so.
Jerry Skittles said that three of his cousins, all of whom were planning on attending SF Pride this year, had died at Pulse. "They couldn't come, and now they're up there, watching over us with Pride," he said.
"Don't judge me because the Lord made me just like he made you," said Thelma Flores.
"Be kinder to each other," said Jaime Miranda. "Have each other's back."
Volunteers and blessing attendees help clean up the memorial.
photo: steven bracco/hoodline
Openly gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose district includes the Castro, did not address the crowd. He stood quietly in the background, his eyes welling up with tears.
"This memorial was completely organic from the community," Wiener told Hoodline after the ceremony. "It's only fitting that we bless it and that we preserve it for posterity, so that we always remember Orlando."
The hour-long service concluded with a final invocation from Sister Merry, who asked the mourners to join her in a brief shout, for the purpose of letting go of anger and grief.
"I release you," the Sister said. "You have your own dancing to do."
The mourners were invited to take any mementos from the memorial which moved them. The rest were collected by the GLBT Historical Society.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

In the News: San Francisco Bay Times

Thousands Rally for Orlando Massacre Vigil in the Castro

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By Dennis McMillan

Thousands gathered in the streets and on sidewalks near the Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro in front of a stage on a flatbed truck to respond to the worst mass shooting ever in America’s history, and the worst loss of lives on our soil since 9-11. A total of 49 died and 53 patrons were wounded in the Orlando, Florida gay nightclub, Pulse, during Latin Night.

Two Drag Kings known as Momma’s Boyz opened the Castro vigil singing a mournful “Freedom” song to a tearful crowd. But the energy changed to anger and resolve when speakers took the podium. Supervisor Scott Wiener said, “We’re here today to recommit ourselves to the fight, to honor the survivors, to send good energy to the families and friends who have been left behind.”

Supervisor David Campos said, “As a gay Latino man, it is not shocking to me that the worst mass shooting in the history of this country would target the queer community.” He added, “We want our leaders to think of queer people of color not just when there’s a massacre, but every single day.” As many of the speakers stated, he emphasized opposition to Islamophobia and xenophobia. “We are all in this together. I know that targeting the Muslim community is simply wrong, and we’re going to speak out against it.”

Approximately two-thirds of the Orlando victims were Latino. Lito Sandoval, SF Latino Democratic Club president, noted, “Latino leaders were not contacted [for the vigil]. We had to reach out.” He stressed, “Acts like this don’t make me want to back down. They make me want to continue to fight.”
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Among the many Muslims speaking at the rally was a Muslim doctor from San Francisco General Hospital, Suzanne Barakat, M.D. saying, “As a physician, I see these tragedies as symptoms of a deeper illness, a disease of the soul that goes by different names.”

Former Assemblyman and former Supervisor Tom Ammiano joked that NRA was an acronym for “National Real A-holes.” He made several fun-loving ribald jokes, but ended seriously, saying, “We are still here. We are still strong. We are still fighting, and we’re not going to live in fear!”
“We’ve known gun violence before,” shouted Pastor Megan Rohrer. “Angry people of faith are not the majority. We are queer. We are transgender. We are fabulous, we are faithful. We must stand up. We must vote until everyone is safe in bathrooms, in churches, and in the … streets.”

“There’s a lot of heartache, but we are coming together to create some type of solidarity, not only in San Francisco but also beyond ourselves,” said Dyke March organizer Rosa M. Hernandez.

Sister Merry Peter and Sister Roma of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence led the crowd in a recitation call and response, asking everyone to lift up their candles and repeat each time, “We shine our light on you!”
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Mayor Ed Lee spoke through a few boos from the audience, “We’re here in unity so we can stop this violence, and San Francisco must lead the way. Hatred will not drive out hatred, and darkness will not drive out the dark.” He concluded, “This is a stark reminder that violence still threatens our LGBT community.”

Toney Chaplin, Interim Police Chief who was recently appointed after Chief Greg Suhr resigned, said, “The NRA is a powerful group, but I am staring at a more powerful group.” He added, “We need to get this legislation in place to change the gun laws in this country.” He noted that San Francisco Police have increased patrols in the Castro and elsewhere. And they promise to really step up security at the San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration.

Members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus closed the vigil by singing “We Are a Gentle, Angry People,” with SFGMC Director Dr. Timothy Seelig leading the crowd in the familiar Holly Near protest song. Then they sang “We Shall Overcome” and closed with an old Irish blessing ending with “May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Following the rally in the Castro, people marched peacefully but defiantly to City Hall, which was appropriately lit in the rainbow colors. The names of murdered victims were read aloud. After the rally, many left their candles burning on a statue of Abraham Lincoln at City Hall. So appropriate, as Lincoln was murdered for civil rights.

To support the victims and their families, please go to

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

In the News: West Hawaii Today

About Town:
Event provides free health, vision services
The Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity is partnering with Project Vision Hawaii, the Kailua-Kona Lions Club and Pastor Megan Rohrer from Welcome Ministry in San Francisco to hold a Kona vision event.
Planned from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 25 at the Old Kona Airport Makaeo Events Pavilion, the event will serve homeless and low-income people. Attendees will have the opportunity to receive free vision screening, glasses, blood pressure, blood sugar, and HIV screening, free meals and haircuts. The free glasses will be ordered for attendees and later distributed by LCHT’s HERO Ministry.
Info: 329-5733,

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

In the News: Apple Daily

「沒人能奪我們閃耀的愛」 2千人街頭悼佛州死者

【王 欣儀╱舊金山報導】美國佛州同志夜店週末的喋血慘案,導致至少49人喪命槍管。兩週後即將舉辦同志大遊行的舊金山,昨夜在卡斯楚(Castro)同志區舉 辦哀悼晚會,現場許多人不禁為罹難者及LGBT社群難過落淚,誓言「以愛對抗仇恨」,繼續為自己的身份認同爭取權益。

搬 離卡斯楚區已25年的葛維達(Govinda)在哈維•米爾克廣場(Harvey Milk Plaza)的一角頻頻用衣服拭淚。44歲的他表示,奧蘭多事件讓他再次踏進同志區,滿街飄揚的彩虹旗,讓他想起那段同志被污名化的過去,所以心情十分激 動。「我想到年輕時的自己,還有昨晚那些被奪走生命的年輕人。他們不會白白地死去。願所有人以愛回應,而非怨恨。」

大方親吻彼此的德克(Dirk)和伴侶德瑞克(Derek)不認為從此以後必須小心翼翼地過日子,因為那不是解決之道。德瑞克說,「我們出來參加 各個活動,讓這個社群更加緊密」;德克也堅定地表示,「沒有人可以偷走我們閃耀的愛」。語畢,兩人相視而笑,甜蜜地親吻對方的唇。

代表卡斯楚、第8區市議員高威善(Scott Wiener),發言時痛批「恐同情節」和美國失能的槍枝管理機制。「35年前,我還是個尚未出櫃的青少年時,LGBT的族群被鎖定殺害;35年後,這種 事還是血淋淋的不斷重演。」他激動的指出,「這個國家被槍枝淹沒,而這些武器唯一的用途,就是屠殺生命。」

他和第9區市議員坎伯斯(David Campos)雖在許多議題上意見相左,但兩人昨晚一同在晚會上,誓言繼續為同志社群努力。

身為路德教派第一名變性牧師的羅勒(Megan Rohrer)希望民眾不要被高漲的情緒影響判斷。「很多聲音會企圖說服我們責怪他人,我們也可能因為恐懼和憤怒,把我們的心也關起來了,」但是他要大家 記住「我們都是有信仰的人」,而以神之名散播仇恨的人只是少數。他高聲呼籲:「我們要從教堂、廟宇、清真寺裡走出來!」



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In the News: Mondoweiss

As San Francisco mourns Orlando, Trump pulls Clinton his way
US Politics Wilson Dizard on June 14, 2016

As San Francisco mourns Orlando, Trump pulls Clinton his way

US Politics
- See more at:

 “Love” was the word I heard most often Sunday in San Francisco from people mourning the deadliest mass shooting in American history, which took the lives of at least 49 at a gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando early Sunday morning. In a phone call to 911, the shooter, now dead, declared allegiance to the Islamic State, police say.

“God is love,” said one man, Daniel Borysewicz, a hospice pastor.

“Muslims are about love and the sanctity of life just like Christians, just like Buddhists, all different types of people who look on the side of love. Because God is love, no matter how you wrap him up, or her or wrap them up. It’s a matter of…God is love..and the love that we share with human beings is the connection we have with God because that’s how God manifests in our lives. It is the love we share with each other.”

Another man, a Latino gay rights activist, said love was the foundation of the unity marginalized groups need to show in the face of hatred.

“Love is love,” said Salvador Tovar. “We’re going to stand united. Muslims, Christians, Catholics, Atheists, everyone here. We’re standing together for our brothers and sisters whose lives were taken. Regardless of your religion, regardless of your sexual identity, regardless if you are straight, gay, bisexual, love is love.”

I asked: “What would you say to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders right now?”

“Love is love,” he said. “We’re going to stand equal. Or they will take us one by one.”

Both men, members of the city’s LGBT community, rallied and marched with thousands of others down Market Street on Sunday night, a show of defiance and unity against anti-gay bigotry and gun violence itself. In the speeches by local politicians, activists and parents of gun violence victims, Islamophobia, homophobia and the National Rifle Association were San Francisco’s common enemy, not Islam or Muslims. Thousands cheered when David Campos, a gay city council member, said the community would not respond with bigotry towards Muslims.

The gruesome, hours long attack in Orlando, which police say was carried out by Omar Mateen, 29, an American of Afghan descent, was the work of a man who had a history of abusive behavior against his former wife and others. His father maintains that his son, who died in the attack, hated gay people and became enraged seeing two men kissing in front of his family. A security guard, his former coworkers call him unhinged, racist and sexist, NBC reports. He made disturbing statements to colleagues about Islam, but you’d probably think Mateen was a jerk no matter what religion he claimed to follow.

Eric Hubert, 94, a member of Grace Episcopal Church, said he didn’t blame Islam for this kind of killing.

“This is an American craziness,” he observed, adding that “Abraham is father to us all.”

With a history of angry outbursts, Mateen was the kind of guy who San Franciscans say should not have been able to legally purchase the semi-automatic assault weapon he used to slay dozens of people. There are already legal remedies that might stop this kind of massacre. California has started experimenting with a “Gun Violence Restraining Order,” or GVRO, that allows families or law enforcement to request courts issue GVROs on individuals who are threaten to harm themselves or others. Law enforcement then can take the weapons away.

But no such law exists in Florida, and there are minimal restrictions to gun ownership. So here I am writing about 49 people who were alive on Saturday, and had no idea they wouldn’t live to see the sun rise on Sunday.

By Monday, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Stonewall Jackson and George McClellan of American politics (both losers, in their own special ways) were duking it out in one of the first major battles of what promises to be an election season full of them. Although Clinton paid lip service to rejecting Islamophobia, her proposal for what to do about people like Mateen were similar to Trump’s.

In an interview with NPR‘s Steve Inskeep, Clinton laid out a “number of proposals to tackle this issue of self-radicalization.” They include “working with Silicon Valley to prevent online radicalization” and “creating more integrated intelligence use among all levels of law enforcement,” pulling from foreign and domestic sources, and, in her Trumpiest statement yet, the creation of a “broader database” of suspicious individuals.

Federal authorities reportedly interviewed Mateen several times about his flirtations with political violence, but never found evidence enough to charge him with anything.

Clinton’s targets for increased surveillance, and restrictions on owning a gun, would include “people who have expressed the kind of admiration and allegiance to terrorism.” Muslim communities across the United States have experienced what it’s like to be spied on, and Clinton’s proposals suggest nothing more than more surveillance. In New York City’s surveillance scheme for Muslims and mosques, a young man’s deciding not to drink was reason enough for suspicion. To Arab American leaders in the city, that kind of distrust did nothing but breed distrust with law enforcement.

Many might argue that he shouldn’t have been able to buy a gun because he was a despicable abuser of his wife. Instead of saying that, something based on known facts, Clinton is talking fluent Beltway-speak for: “We need to expand the surveillance state. There will be more money for that when I’m president.”

Trump, meanwhile, has said that we need to get “tough and smart” and that he would have a lot of “systems” to keep track of Muslims, and a total ban on Muslim coming into the United States. They’re a nightmarish cartoon drawn in childish crayon colors, but that’s just a less politically savvy way of saying what Clinton did. Expand the powers of the government and all will be well. In San Francisco, however, the emphasis was on love, not suspicion.

Mikail Ali, a Deputy Chief for Special Operations, addressed reporters about security for the next pride event. The local news reporters watched eagerly for signs that Ali might give their viewers something to worry about. Police circled Harvey Milk Plaza, named after San Francisco’s first openly gay city council member.

As the local news crews packed up and moved on, I asked Ali if they been threats against Muslims over the attack.

“We have not. We’re here and we’re also present at a mosque here in the city to make sure nothing adverse happens,” he said. “We’re passing by each one.”

I asked Ali if he was a Muslim himself.

“By coincidence, yes,” he said.

“How you and other Muslim officers dealing with this talk of surveilling Muslim communities?” I asked.

“We’re not even having that discussion right now,” he said. “We’re discussing having a discussion about supporting a community that is mourning and addressing whatever might develop as a result of this investigation.”

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Trump, who poses in pictures with cops regularly, was selling followers and potential voters on his prescient hot takes on Islam.

“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” he tweeted Sunday. “I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

He also called on Obama to resign for not using the term “radical Islam.”

“Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”

So that’s the Donald for you. But Clinton, in the same interview where she promised to work with Silicon Valley (translation “generous information technology contracts for lucky techies”), also lost her first verbal battle to Trump, in an election where words really matter.

Trump wants to break down the barrier he sees in political correctness run amok. Like the Environmental Protection Agency keeping lead out of your children’s blood, political correctness when practiced by politicians helps keep racial slurs out of your children’s ears. It’s a thin membrane, and it’s fraying.

Her words show that Trump himself might be able to drag her to the right.

Clinton lost when she said responded to Trump’s criticism of Obama for not saying “radical Islamic terrorism.” And she lost badly, as Trump would say.

Clinton also lost an important rhetorical battle with Trump on Sunday morning. Using the term “radical Islam” or any combination of the words

“It matters what we do, not what we say,” Clinton proclaimed.

Tell that to anyone who has ever had “raghead” shouted at them from a passing car, and they’ll tell you the words we say matter, too. They’re deeds in their own right.

“Whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’m happy to say either. But that’s not the point. The point is Trump goes way too far,” she said.

Now that Sanders is out, Clinton is free to pivot away from the party’s left and start using terms like “radical Islamism.” Trump is pushing Clinton to inch to the right, prompting her call to expand surveillance of Americans. Why not use the term “radical Islamism” or “jihadism.” But this is the language of Fox News. It’s his language. Trump has Clinton talking like Trump does, and Clinton doesn’t think that matters that much.

“I have been hitting Obama and Crooked Hillary hard on not using the term Radical Islamic Terror. Hillary just broke-said she would now use!” he tweeted Monday morning.

If Clinton and Trump are going to reap the whirlwind this year in a dramatic political war for the soul of America, while Bernie Sanders stands nearby watching, then Clinton just lost the first battle. She lost because she suggested expanding the surveillance state, just as Trump does. She also failed to grasp the importance of not sticking the words “radical” and “Islam” and “jihadist” all around a sentence. It’s that kind of thing, repeated billions of times, that fertilizes the soil of society to grow the noxious weed that is Islamophobia.

In order to really mend the Democratic party, Clinton needs to stop just talking about Muslims, but rather take a line from Sanders and start speaking to Muslims themselves. That happened naturally with Sanders, with surrogates like Linda Sarsour acting as advocates for his campaign. Clinton might have a harder time gaining their trust, after treating them as a political liability in 2000, handing back cash to Muslims after getting cold feet about whether they supported Hamas or not, Electronic Intifada reports.

The rally in the Castro district on Sunday had a prominent Muslim voice. Suzanne Barakat, a Muslim doctor living in San Francisco, spoke at the Castro street rally. In 2015, she lost her brother, Deah, then 23, and two other relatives, Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha to an angry white man with a gun in North Carolina. She and other members of the Muslim community consider it an attack motivated by hatred of Muslims.

“I am a physician at San Francisco General Hospital, a Syrian American and a Muslim,” Barakat began. “I work with colleagues, family members and serve with love patients who identify as members of the LGBT community. I know from first hand the pain and alienation that many of them experience. These tragedies are coming to us far too frequently. As a physician, I see them as symptom of a deeper illness: hatred, cruelty, intolerance. The cure for it is the medicine of love, kindness and compassion.”

“We are one people, who share the values of humanity and the shared values of the sanctity of life, and the freedom to live as we see fit. We reject your hatred, and we assert our love,” she said to cheers. “I pray and hope that as a nation we follow the example set by you here today.”
Love is one weapon to defeat bigotry, but so is passion and presence in public of the maligned. One member of the Christian clergy present Sunday called the thousands gathered at Harvey Milk Plaza to become more involved in confronting hatred.

“Out of the bars and into the streets!” proclaimed Megan Rohrer, pastor of Grace Lutheran Evangelical Church in San Francisco, to loud cheers from the audience, repeating a call to march made in San Francisco by gay rights activists decades before.

Rohrer added a 2016 twist, in calling for interfaith cooperation.

“We have also come out of our churches and into the streets! Out of our temples and into the streets! Out of our mosques and into the streets!”

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Monday, June 13, 2016

In the News: South Florida Gay News

San Francisco Stands With Orlando

SFGN Admin | David-Elijah Nahmod

Hundreds gathered in San Francisco's gay-centric Castro District to mourn the loss of LGBT life in Orlando. The vigil tool place at 8 p.m. on June 12, the day news of the mass shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub made headlines.

The vigil was supposed to take place at Harvey Milk Plaza at the corner of Castro and Market Streets, but so many people showed up that the vigil stretched across the street into Jane Warner Plaza, a small parklet named after the late San Francisco police officer Jane Warner, who was a lesbian.

People wiped away tears and held candles as the speakers took to the stage.

Openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro District said that guns were "a disease."

"The country is awash in guns," Wiener said, speaking from the podium. "I'm angry. We are here to recommit the fight to end anti-LGBT violence and to force congress to do something about the damn guns."

Supervisor David Campos, who is also gay, represents San Francisco's primarily Latin Mission District. "It's a very difficult day," Campos said. "As a gay Latino man this is shocking to me – we must make sure that the Latino community is not forgotten in all of this."

Most of the victims at Pulse were LGBT Latinos.

"We've gotten complacent," Campos continued. "People of color are often marginalized within the LGBT community. We don't want to be remembered just when we're massacred. We want to be remembered every day."
Campos reminded the crowd that Congress did nothing after school children were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Pastor Megan Rohrer, the first openly transgender pastor to be ordained as the leader of a Lutheran congregation, also addressed the mourners.

"We are Queer, we are fabulous, we are beautiful," the Pastor shouted. "We must act up and stand up. Out of the bars and into the streets. Out of the churches and into the streets!"

"The NRA is a powerful group," said San Francisco's interim police chief Toney Chaplin. "I'm looking at a more powerful group. Get out and vote! If you see something suspicious, say something!

San Francisco resident Sal Navarrette, who is gay, spoke to SFGN. "The hate that's out there saddens me," he said. "I don't want people who hate to make me fearful. I want them to know they're uniting us."
Brandy Jane Rose, a 22-year-old transwoman, said that the killings in Orlando would not make her fearful of attending San Francisco Pride in two weeks.

"I cannot not give a shit anymore," she said. "The fight is not over. We cannot back down. We cannot let them win."

The vigil concluded with the mourners singing the Civil Rights anthem We Shall Overcome, which was followed by a march down Market Street to San Francisco City Hall.
David-Elijah Nahmod is SFGN’s correspondent in San Francisco.

In the News: Hoodline:

'We Must Remember Orlando': Thousands Attend Vigil For Massacre Victims, March To City Hall

“We’ve known gun violence before,” shouted Pastor Megan Rohrer to the thousands of people who gathered last night in the Castro to mourn the 50 people killed at an Orlando nightclub over the weekend. “Angry people of faith are not the majority. We are queer. We are transgender. We are fabulous, we are faithful. We must stand up. We must vote ... until everyone is safe in bathrooms, in churches, and in the fucking streets.”

The crowds at the vigil were so large that community members spilled out into the streets surrounding Harvey Milk Plaza, amassing along Castro Street just south of Market. An SFPD officer at the event estimated that 10,000 people were in attendance, though that number has not yet been confirmed by authorities.
Thousands gathered at Harvey Milk Plaza and on Castro Street in solidarity.
Photo: Nuala Sawyer/Hoodline
A diverse group of community organizers and politicians spoke to the crowd, many of whom were still reeling with grief, shock, and anger from a tragedy that had occurred just 21 hours earlier.

Sister Roma and Sister Mary Peter from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence accompanied Pastor Rohrer on stage for a religious perspective on the shooting. The Sisters called upon spiritual leaders across the country to “speak with compassion and love for all,” before wishing that current and future leaders have the “courage to end this cycle of mass violence and reject the politics of hate.”
Many held candles at the vigil. Photo: Nuala Sawyer/Hoodline
Local politicians who spoke at the event included Mayor Ed Lee, Senator Mark Leno, Supervisor Scott Wiener, and Supervisor David Campos. Campos, who is gay and Latino, spoke passionately on the struggles of queer people of color. "As a gay Latino man, it is not shocking to me that the biggest mass shooting would target the queer community, and also the Latino community," he stated.

“The thing about [the LGBT Latino] community is we are resilient," Campos said. "We have been through tough times, we are sticking together, and we are gonna keep fighting to make sure that this community is not forgotten.”
Photo: Nuala Sawyer/Hoodline
Campos railed against a sense of complacency in the queer community, in light of the recent legalization of gay marriage across the country. "We all have to recommit ourselves to the work that remains," he said. "We want our leaders to think of queer people of color not just when there's a massacre, but every single day." 

Like many of the other speakers, Campos expressed opposition to Islamophobia and xenophobia. “We are all in this together. I know that targeting the Muslim community is simply wrong, and we’re going to speak out against it."
Hundreds marched to City Hall. Photo: Shane Downing/Hoodline
“We need to be together. We need to carry on with the love our family and friends, our allies, lovers, whatever. We need to carry on. We need to battle,” said Latino Democratic Club president Lito Sandoval, who also stated that he and members of his community had to ask to attend and speak at the vigil, because they had not initially been invited. “Latino leaders were not contacted; we had to reach out.”
While, as Sandoval said, “the attack was on queer and Latino communities,” the crowd at the vigil was diverse. 

“Look around you, this is your community," Sandoval said. "We need to choose inclusiveness, choose love, choose each other, choose integrity, choose solidarity, and not allow us to erase each other. None of us are free until all of us are free."

Mayor Ed Lee also spoke at the vigil, amidst both boos and applause from the crowd. "Hatred will not drive out hatred, and darkness will not drive out the dark," he said. "I join you all to make sure that we lead the way, and keep our LGBTQ community safe."
Many marched to, and gathered at, a rainbow-lit City Hall following the vigil. Photo: Noah Whiteman/Hoodline
In addition to politicians, interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin, who was recently appointed after Chief Greg Suhr resigned, spoke briefly to attendees. "The NRA is a powerful group, but I am staring at a more powerful group," he said, drawing cheers from the crowd. 

Chaplin encouraged those in attendance to get out and vote for politicians who support gun control laws. “Get out there and go show your support for folks. We need to get this legislation in place to change the gun laws in this country,” he said.

But the largest applause from the crowd was reserved for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who opened his speech with the simple phrase "Fuck the NRA." Joking that the organization's moniker stands for "national real assholes," Ammiano's speech was filled with humor, but also powerful messages. "Is that a gun in your pocket?" he asked the crowd. "Because I'm not happy to see you."
The crowd began to march, peacefully, to City Hall.
Photo: Randall Sarafa/Hoodline
Shortly before 9pm, the SF Gay Men's Chorus led the crowd in song. As the speeches ended, hundreds of peaceful marchers slowly began to flow down Market Street towards City Hall. Although traffic was halted, drivers encouraged marchers with honks of solidarity.

Upon reaching City Hall, the mood remained somber as the names of victims were read aloud. “We must remember Orlando,” said one organizer. Before heading home, many left their candles, still lit, beneath the backdrop of City Hall's rainbow lights.
Marchers leave behind candles on a statue of Abraham Lincoln at City Hall.
Photo: Noah Whiteman/Hoodline
“We must remain strong and vigilant in the face of such hatred," said San Francisco Pride in a statement. "We must be good to one another, we must speak up for one another, and most importantly we must look out for one another."

“As members of the LGBTQ community, as Americans, and as those who believe in freedom and the rule of law, we must continue undeterred in our quest for full and equal rights for everyone. We are unbowed and unbroken by this attack, and will continue on in the memory of those who lost their lives for simply expressing their true selves.”
"We Must Remember Orlando." Photo: Shane Downing/Hoodline