News Briefs: AGUILAS, SF center to unveil Pulse memorial

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday November 30, 2022
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A rendering of "Aegis," a memorial to victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting that will be unveiled in San Francisco next week. Illustration: Courtesy AGUILAS
A rendering of "Aegis," a memorial to victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting that will be unveiled in San Francisco next week. Illustration: Courtesy AGUILAS

It's been a long time coming but the San Francisco LGBT Community Center and AGUILAS El Ambiente, one of the agencies that has its offices in the building, will unveil the "Aegis" sculpture to commemorate the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub tragedy that took place in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016.

The ceremony will take place Wednesday, December 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the center, located at 1800 Market Street. AGUILAS serves the gay and bi Latinx community, according to its website.

The victims of the Pulse mass shooting were mostly LGBTQ Latinos. The gunman, Omar Mateen, died in a shootout with police that night.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported in a June Pride article, Barbara Poma, the owner of the nightclub and founder of the onePULSE Foundation, is involved with plans to create a permanent memorial in Orlando. When Poma was in San Francisco in February she was asked about the AGUILAS project but said that she had not heard about it.

At the time, Renato M. Talhadas, director of programs at AGUILAS, said the local project had been held up by city bureaucracy.

Talhadas will be one of those on hand to speak at the unveiling, along with Eduardo Morales, Ph.D., the nonprofit's founder and executive director; and Jen Valles, director of programs at the LGBT center.

According to an email announcement about the unveiling, the memorial project was taken on by AGUILAS after San Francisco's Board of Supervisors provided funds for a memorial in 2017. In an email, Morales stated that the amount provided by the city was $10,000.

"No one was designated to oversee this project," Morales wrote. "Hence, AGUILAS took the leadership to ensure the intent of the SF Board of Supervisors was realized."

The memorial conceptualizes Aegis, a device carried by Athena and Zeus in Homer's "Iliad." The design consists of a V-shaped shield engraved with the victims' names.

"Aegis" also serves as a cultural milestone for Wilson Ferreira, who will be the first gay Brazilian artist to create a public memorial in San Francisco, a news release noted.

"I'm beyond grateful for this opportunity to pay my respects and homage to our fallen Pulse siblings," stated Ferreira. "I believe that art breaks barriers and can convey powerful community messages. So it's with great pride that, as a gay and Brazilian artist, I can offer 'Aegis' to our beautiful LGBTQ+ community with a message of protection and resilience for our people against the daily prejudice we continue to grapple with all over the world."

The sculpture's design consists of a V-shaped shield engraved with the victims' names. The 49 markings embedded in the metal shield that dissipates on its two sides also represent the victims murdered at Pulse. According to Ferreira, "They are integrated, creating a distinct web on two sides for complete protection. They symbolize our inner pulse radiating with love and solidarity."

Morales stated that AGUILAS is proud to hold the memorial's unveiling.

"We're honored to lead the creation of this memorial for community members we lost at Pulse, as intended by the survivors," Morales stated. "This was a significant moment for our community, as most of the people murdered during the shooting were Latinx. It felt important for AGUILAS to take a leadership role in commemorating community members we lost while instilling hope and pride in who we are through 'Aegis.'"

The event is free. To RSVP, click here.

Sisters to hold Krampus pageant

Join San Francisco Krampus and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as they pay homage to the sinister and scary side of Christmas at the fourth annual Krampus pageant Saturday, December 3, from 3 to 7 p.m. at El Rio, 3158 Mission Street. A news release stated, "the naughty creatures of San Francisco will join a panel of steely judges and compete for a chance to be crowned the Krampus of 2022."

The winner will receive a special effects makeup gift package and an array of prizes to "help numb them through the holidays," the release stated. The pageant will also feature special (and spooky) drag performances and live music.

The competition will be on the outdoor patio and proof of COVID vaccination is required to enter the venue, according to the release.

Admission is a recommended donation of $10-$20, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Proceeds will benefit the Pacific Center for Human Growth in Berkeley, the oldest LGBTQ community center in the Bay Area and the third oldest in the country.

For more information, including how to enter the pageant, click here.

World Tree of Hope lighting

It's that time of year and the Rainbow World Fund will hold a lighting ceremony for its World Tree of Hope Monday, December 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street.

Rainbow World Fund is an LGBTQ humanitarian organization based in San Francisco. Its tree contains thousands of origami cranes inscribed with wishes for the future of the world. This year marks the 17th annual event.

The celebration will feature the Grammy-winning San Francisco Boys Chorus; the Right Reverend Marc Andrus, Episcopal bishop of California; Hajime "Jimmy" Kishimori, the deputy consul general of Japan in San Francisco; the Very Reverend Dr. Malcolm Young; RWF founder Jeff Cotter, a gay man; and Honey Mahogany, a trans person who is chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party and former District 6 supervisor candidate.

The emcee for the evening will be drag artist Donna Sachet, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will bless the tree.

The event is free, though RWF appreciates donations, which can be made online. There is also additional information about the World Tree of Hope and contributing a wish.

Horizons' State of the Movement program

Horizons Foundation will hold its annual State of the Movement program Tuesday, December 6, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Pacific time. This year's event is virtual.

Panelists will include Andy Marra, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund; Kierra Johnson, a bisexual Black woman who's the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force; James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBTQ Rights Project; and gay California Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell). Roger Doughty, a gay man who is president of Horizons, will moderate.

There is no charge to attend. To register, click here.

Caltrain seeks members for bike advisory panel

Recruitment is now underway for five seats on Caltrain's Bicycle and Active Transportation Advisory Committee. The panel serves as the primary venue to integrate the interests and perspectives of customers who use active transportation — bicycling, walking, and other closely-related modes — as their primary method of access to the Caltrain system into its planning process, a news release stated.

The openings are for one member of the general public who rides Caltrain and either boards or alights from the train in San Francisco County and one from San Mateo County, as well as one member of a bicycle advocacy organization from each of Caltrain's three counties: San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

The committee is composed of nine volunteer members from those three counties. Four of the five open seats came from the natural end of the members' terms, the release stated.

The committee meets on the third Thursday of every month at 5:45 p.m. It is anticipated that meetings will be held in person beginning in 2023, the release stated. All meetings are open to the public.

Applications are due by Sunday, December 11, and are available at

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