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Sunday, September 26, 2021

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News + PoliticsSF Latino, LGBT communities march in solidarity for Orlando

SF Latino, LGBT communities march in solidarity for Orlando

Along the sidelines, observers cried, applauded, threw the peace sign, and waved rainbow flags. But the mood among the hundreds of marchers who took to the streets, symbolically threading their way from the Castro to the Mission on Saturday afternoon, was determination to show solidarity and love between the Latino and LGBT communities.

The march, called Amor Y Solidaridad, was also held to acknowledge that the Orlando gay nightclub shooting that took 49 lives was an act of hatred perpetuated on both communities. The majority of the lives lost were both queer and Latinx, spanning all gender expressions, many emigrating from Puerto Rico, which continues to be devastated by American economic policy.

The 'Amor y Solidad' march from the Castro to the Mission on Saturday, June 18.
The ‘Amor y Solidaridad’ march from the Castro to the Mission on Saturday, June 18. Photo by David Schnur

The fact that this was a hate crime perpetuated against LGBT Latinos has been egregiously whitewashed, from major politicians playing down any connection to the Latino gay community — even doubting one can exist — to a ridiculously bland New York Times opinion piece, which astonishingly left out any mention that 90 percent of the victims were Latino, despite centering on last Sunday’s Pride celebration in Los Angeles, one of the most LGBT-Latino areas in the nation.

In fact, Orlando’s Latino gay community actually had to hold a press conference to remind the media and politicians that this was a Latino LGBT hate crime.

Longtime activist Cleve jones (right) led the commemorative march.
Longtime activist Cleve Jones (right) led the commemorative march. Photo by David Schnur

In more local terms, the march — which started at Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro and Market and wound its way to Galeria de la Raza at 24th Street and Bryant — was partly organized as a corrective to last Sunday’s massive vigil in the Castro, which was criticized from the stage by Lito Sandoval, head of the Latino Democratic Club, for failing to include leaders of the Latin community. When asked by the Examiner why his office didn’t reach out to to Latino leaders when planning the vigil, Castro district supervisor Scott Wiener was unapologetic, citing a short planning time frame.

Still, beyond the politics, for many this was the first chance to communally grieve the dead and commemorate them in ways both sacred and public. The march was supported by the SF Latino Democratic Club, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, and the GLBT Historical Society. Members of UNITE HERE and other labor organizations were also on hand.

The march was expertly led by longtime LGBT activist Cleve Jones, who was lively yet quiet, knowing that this was a time for Latino queer voices to be heard. Signs listing the victims’ names were held aloft. Chants of “Viva Orlando, Somos Orlando” and “No to homophobia! No to transphobia! No to xenophobia! No to sexism! No to Islamophobia!” rose up.

The march symbolically united the Latino and LGBT communities. Photo by David Schnur
The march symbolically united the Latino and LGBT communities. Photo by David Schnur

When the march ended at Galeria de la Raza, there was a short program that included a two-spirit song that welcomed ancestors to the gathering, and a spritual invocation, during which the crowd turned and faced the four directions of the compass, which represented determination for peace, strength, healing, and power, among other characteristics.

During the program that followed, Galeria director Ani Rivera spoke of how systematic racism and homophobia — “the 500-year American colonial project” to stifle other voices and sexualities — led to the massacre, and how those elements made it so painful to the community now. “I look at their names, it could’ve been any one of us,” she said. Many in the crowd held each other and cried.


Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.
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  1. We must stand for social justice: without charades” Oralando–happen anywhere! I care freedom is” among must forget to legislation…detest celebrites dissauding effort. Personal publicity whom? Ricky Martin,J. Lo and Wilson Cruz before decry (racism within LGBTQ) society,where do stand social empowerment? Guilty mention them own homes renowned,metropolitan cities (paid with cash) also own. Multi-family dwellings LGBTQ haven’t financial contributions, from those using racism embitterment. During L.A,St.Louis and Philadelphia felt being excluded, event promote inequality as whole this agenda. True Rainbow nation allow are colors to illuminate!

  2. What doesn’t make sense to you? Care to elaborate, or do you just want to make cheap cracks?

  3. And there you go missing the point. The true cause is homophobia. Mateen wasn’t taking orders from anyone, as far as we know. And bombing people until they love queers isn’t going to work. — Marke B.

  4. “Mateen could have just as easily been acting on the orders of radical Christians who demand the blood of gays every Sunday from the pulpit. ”

    But he wasn’t. There you go again, changing the subject.

  5. The killer worked for G4S, a security company, the 3rd largest company in the world, that is under constant criticism for many things, including running a jail system in Israel and training the Israelis how to torture Palestinians. It seems highly unlikely that a supporter of ISIS would work for a pro-Israeli company.

    Below is one of thousands of articles that capture what this company is doing.

    And then they said he was gay. But his second wife says that she drove him to gay bars for reconnaissance and that she was instructed by the FBI to not say that he was gay.

    Nothing about this passes the smell test.


  6. Mateen could have just as easily been acting on the orders of Christians who demand the blood of gays every Sunday from the pulpit. The point is If everyone accepted homosexuality and there was no racism or misogyny, there would be no need to massacre people in the name of god or whatever. Homophobia and racism are learned behaviors, and the killer grew up in America. — Marke B.

  7. It was radical Islamism that killed the victims in Orlando. The killer invoked ISIS and called out Allahu Akbar as he killed my gay brothers and sisters. Why do people blame everything but that?

  8. “the 500-year American colonial project” to stifle other voices and sexualities — led to the massacre

    Is this what 48 Hills, Marke B. and the event sponsors believe?

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