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Glide church to celebrate the life of Janice Mirikitani Sunday

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A celebration of the life of Glide co-founder Janice Mirikitani will be held August 15. Photo: Courtesy Poetry Foundation/Robert Cardin
A celebration of the life of Glide co-founder Janice Mirikitani will be held August 15. Photo: Courtesy Poetry Foundation/Robert Cardin  

A celebration of the life of Glide Memorial Church co-founder and former San Francisco poet laureate Janice Mirikitani will be held Sunday, August 15, at the church and online.

The memorial will honor Ms. Mirikitani's legacy and advocacy for the city's most marginalized. At Glide, where she worked for many years, she was a co-founder of the church's Center for Social Change. She was a former president of the Glide Foundation.

Ms. Mirikitani died July 29. She was 80.

According to a news release, the celebration will feature music, live performances, poetry, and remarks from Glide President and CEO Karen Hanrahan. Elected officials, community leaders, family members, and friends will also speak. The Reverend Cecil Williams will conclude the programs with reflections on his late wife.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, Ms. Mirikitani was a longtime ally to the LGBTQ community.

In 2013 when Ms. Mirikitani and Williams published their joint memoir "Beyond the Possible," Ms. Mirikitani told the Bay Area Reporter that as a Japanese American, she felt great empathy for the isolation that many LGBTQ people lived with.

"The LGBT community humanized us," she said. "My first job was with homeless youth, who taught me the power of authenticity."

In 2000, Ms. Mirikitani served as San Francisco's second poet laureate.

In the release, Williams said that in her final hours, he made a promise to her to "keep going on."

"We must continue to do what Janice helped me to do," he stated. "Janice helped me to build Glide with all of you. Janice was ahead of her time, ready to take on anybody and everybody. Janice will always stand for something magnificent. It's our time now. It's time to confront what's important in life, to summon and offer our full humanity, and to expect greatness from ourselves."

Hanrahan stated that Ms. Mirikitani "was a force of nature."

"She was fearless and transformational in the honesty with which she loved us all and held us all accountable," she stated. "Janice's legacy and her unique, powerful voice are all around us. It will continue to inspire Glide's work as we transform hearts and minds, and the landscape of poverty and homelessness in San Francisco."

In accordance with local and federal COVID-19 safety guidance, the celebration will be in a hybrid format, the release stated. Only family members and special guests will be allowed inside the church, located at 330 Ellis Street. The livestreamed event, on Glide's Facebook page and at https://www.glide.org/janicemirikitani/, will be broadcast via a jumbo screen to audience members outside of the Glide building in physically distanced seating areas.

All attendees are required to wear masks and observe social distancing protocols. The sanctuary is reserved for speakers, immediate family, and Williams, the release stated.

The celebration will run from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

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