Approximately 60 people gathered Tuesday for a “people’s board meeting” in front of the SF Pride office at Market and Pearl Street, to protest the Pride board’s revocation of Bradley Manning’s grand marshal election and its lack of accountability to the community.
As previously reported, last week more than 100 community members attempted to attend a Pride board meeting and give public comment about their support for the Wikileaks whistleblower. That meeting ended in chaos after only a handful of people were allowed in to speak, with board treasurer David Currie promising that a new meeting would be scheduled in a larger venue.
On Sunday the board cancelled a previously scheduled May 14 membership meeting, stating that its Manning decision was firm and a public meeting would not take place until after the June 30 Pride fest.
Undeterred, community members came together anyway to shame the absent board members — represented by empty chairs on the sidewalk — and offer the public testimony they were previously denied.
“Bradley Manning is one of the heroes of this generation of soldiers,” said Michael Wong of SF Veterans for Peace. “Soldiers have a duty to report wrongdoing.”
Njobe, an organizer of the SF Dyke March, encouraged people not to support Pride, urging, “Don’t give them your money!” While some activists have called for a boycott of this year’s festival, others favor a large pro-Manning contingent in the parade.
Tommi Avicolli Mecca reminded listeners that many of the people who started the Gay Liberation movement in the late 1960s came from the Vietnam antiwar movement. “We have long history of supporting people who used radical means to change society,” he said.
Kyles DeVries announced that a group of radical faeries have named Manning the first “Queen of the Faeries,” after which many in the assembled crowd moved to the LGBT Center across the street to participate in a Harvey Milk Club PAC forum on Pride and Manning.
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