News in brief: SF benefit for gay Iraqis Friday
compiled by Cynthia Laird
Gays Without Borders/San Francisco will hold a fundraiser for Rainbow World Fund/Iraq Friday, June 19 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Cafe Flore, 2298 Market Street in San Francisco.
The event takes place after last month's successful local action to bring attention to the fact that LGBT people are being persecuted in Iraq, including reports of torture, beating, and killing of gay Iraqis in an effort by police to "clean up" the country by getting both beggars and gays and lesbians off the streets.
Gary Virginia and Michael Petrelis are two San Francisco activists who have taken the lead on local organizing efforts; the Rainbow World Fund is serving as a fiscal sponsor to collect and distribute the funds raised.
The plight of gay Iraqis has garnered attention from politicians. Last week State Department spokesman Ian Kelly condemned acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals in Iraq because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Earlier this month, 45 California lawmakers, led by state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and the LGBT Legislative Caucus, called on the Obama administration to prevent the persecution of LGBT people in Iraq.
For more information about this week's fundraiser, contact Virginia at (415) 867-5004. Donations can be made online at www.rainbowfund.org.
Mayors support marriage equality
The U.S. Conference of Mayors on Monday, June 15 passed a resolution in support of ending the exclusion of gay couples from marriage. The resolution, titled "Equality and Civil Rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans," included support for the freedom to marry along with endorsement of federal bills such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, the Uniting American Families Act, and the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom did not attend the conference in Providence, Rhode Island, because there was a picket by firefighters and he refused to cross picket lines.
Openly gay West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon joined with other mayors to push through the resolution.
Evan Wolfson, executive director of the national organization Freedom to Marry, praised the resolution's passage.
"By passing this resolution, America's mayors spoke for the families they know and serve in communities across the country, and said that excluding those families from the freedom to marry must stop," Wolfson said in a statement.
Renovated Milk center to open
The San Francisco Arts Commission will dedicate a suite of permanent artworks celebrating slain Supervisor Harvey Milk in the newly renovated Harvey Milk Center for Recreational Arts on Saturday, June 20 at 10:30 a.m. at 50 Scott Street in Duboce Park. Conceived by artists Michael Davis and Susan Schwartzenberg, the installations, located in four distinct sites, provide a visual narrative that interprets the center's community recreational arts programs and Milk's rise as an icon of gay civil rights and progressive urban politics.
The center previously had a mural of Milk, the late San Francisco supervisor, on one of its exterior walls. That mural was painted over during the renovation process. One of Milk's quotes, however, is on the exterior of the building.
Funding for the project came from the Recreation and Park Department and the Friends of Duboce Park.
Bishop Robinson at Grace Cathedral
A panel on same-sex marriage featuring openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson will take place Monday, June 22 at 7 p.m. at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street in San Francisco.
"Politics, Religion, and Discourse: A Conversation about Same-Sex Marriage," will feature Robinson, bishop of New Hampshire. He will be joined by Yvette Flunder, bishop of the Fellowship, a multi-denominational fellowship of 110 pastors and Christian leaders; the Reverend Lindi Ramsden, executive director of the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry in California; and Joe Tuman, a professor at San Francisco State University and political analyst for CBS5. Episcopal Bishop of California, Marc Andrus, will serve as moderator.
KQED Pride reception
KQED will once again honor several outstanding local heroes at its celebration of LGBT Pride reception Wednesday, June 24 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the KQED Public Broadcasting Center, 2601 Mariposa Street (at Bryant) in San Francisco.
This year's honorees include Randall D. Ehrbar, PsyD, a clinician at New Leaf: Services for our Community; high school student Rochelle Hamilton; and Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis of Marriage Equality USA.
In addition to the awards, tours of the KQED studios will take place. Space is limited. To RSVP for the reception, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 553-2382.
Major grant for Horizons
The Horizons Foundation has been awarded a grant from the Community Leadership Project that will bring $500,000 over the next three years to LGBT people of color organizations in the Bay Area. The grant is one of the largest to focus on this population and will provide major funding to Horizons' People of Color Initiative to Build Leadership and Effectiveness.
"This grant from the Community Leadership Project will allow Horizons to expand our POCIBLE program in exciting ways," said Jewelle Gomez, Horizons' director of grants and community initiatives.
Executive Director Roger Doughty said that the grant is "desperately needed by our community organizations."
The Community Leadership Project is the creation of three of the Bay Area's largest private foundations: the David and Lucile Packard, James Irvine, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundations. It is aimed at strengthening nonprofit organizations that are led by or serve people of color in California. Horizons was one of only six regranting partners selected for the project, which was launched in April to serve the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Coast, and the San Joaquin Valley.