Photo Credit: Connor Radnovich
This year's Pride celebration looks very different than in years past. The time and energy usually occupied by preparing for the San Francisco LGBTQ+ Pride Parade by the SF Dykes on Bikes® Board of Directors went instead to other projects and events, which while not our usual June routine were so inspiring and helped truly illuminate the community spirit of Pride.
We spent a Saturday in early June riding in solidarity and support of Black Lives Matter in a grass roots effort organized by a local rider. The San Francisco event drew between 150-200 (maybe more?) from across the motorcycle community. It surely took all of the people on the streets by surprise. Because, what better sight is there than block after block of motorcyclists all with a common theme - that BLACK LIVES MATTER!
This Saturday, we went on an 8 hour, 45 mile ride (yes, that is correct) to assist with the Illuminate the Pink Triangle Project. We were honored that Patrick Carney, visionary artist responsible for the Pink Triangle that is constructed every year on Twin Peaks, and Patricia Wilson, Executive Director, reached out to me with a simple request: We can't set up the canvases that normally form the Pink Triangle due to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements. But we still want to make it happen, and we would like a motorcade escort. Are you available? My answer was immediate. Absolutely. Of course, we are available. It will be a small group of riders, because this is not the Parade. But you will have an "only in San Francisco" motorcade courtesy of the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® WMC.
The Pink Triangle Project aligns with our mission of supporting philanthropic endeavors in the LGBTQ+ and women's motorcycle community. Our Board of Directors and several Emeritus Patch Holders (those who were active patch holders for more than 10 years) provided a motorcade for support vehicles for the Pink Torch relay. We started at Oakland's City Hall, with remarks by Mayor Libby Schaff, and then proceeded on foot and included stops in Downtown Oakland, Lake Merrit, and the Oakland LGBTQ Center. We then proceeded over the Bay Bridge to the Ferry Building. In San Francisco, the Torch relay resumed, going West on Market street up, by San Francisco City Hall, to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. We escorted torch bearers past the LGBTQ Center and up into the Castro, ending the foot relay at the Pink Triangle Park. And at that point, we were delighted and honored to be the last leg of the Torch Relay, as we rode the Pink Torch up Twin Peaks to the celebration at the base of the Pink Triangle - which for the first time, was illuminated by small, pink LED lights. It was a rush unlike any other. And while we won't be riding this morning on Market Street, getting to be just one part of a key feature of the San Francisco Pride Celebration was just as fulfilling. Perhaps even more so as we recognize that the COVID-19 crisis disproportionately affects the Black, POC, and Trans members of our community.
Today SFDOB Officers rode to the Marsha P. Johnson Solidarity Rally at the African American Art and Culture Complex , where we played a small part in helping hold space for the voices of the Black Trans community, but most importantly, to make space to LISTEN to our Black Trans family. We also enjoyed the powerful works of art in the new Black Trans Lives Matter Mural at it's unveiling.
We will missed seeing you all this morning. One of the things I love most about helping all the riders line up in advance of the Parade is seeing the signs, as you each find a way to speak to what is in your hearts. We will miss the signs that call for an end to police brutality, systemic racism and transphobia. The names of Tony McDade, Dominique "Remi'Mie" Fells, Riah Milton, Nina Pop and others. And we will miss the signs you would have created celebrating the monumental Supreme Court Victories in Title VII, protecting against employment discrimination for LGBTQ individuals, and the call for continued protection for Dreamers.
However, we know that each of us is celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride in our own ways this weekend, and have been for the month of June. From the San Francisco Dykes on Bikes®, WMC - HAPPY PRIDE and Stay Safe!