Any normal June 1st would see me waist deep in preparation for San Francisco’s Pride Festival and Parade, which usually happens near the end of June. I’d be planning training sessions for my volunteer groups and their supervisors. I’d be fielding phone calls from first time volunteers over the phone, holding skype calls to help someone get up to speed. I’d be pouring over spreadsheets, making sure each entry gate had enough people manning the donation buckets.
This year, in a time of a pandemic, we had already canceled the parade and festival before the current escalation of the end of the world, but I can only imagine that if we hadn’t, we’d be seriously considering it now.
Why? Well, because drunk, stupid people are hard enough to contain when they don’t have an instigator driving them to bad behavior. Because we’ve seen so many clashes of community and police (though I have never personally seen police acting inappropriately at the festival itself, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen) and because right now emotions are very high and the world seems to be standing at the tipping edge of something huge.
SF Pride sometimes has 1 million people over the course of the weekend. Those people come in every ethnicity, every nationality, every color, every orientation and every gender. Outside the gates there are protesters trying to tell us our “lifestyle” is wrong, or sometimes other messages that often get lost in the clamor of that many people. There are criminals looking to score drugs or to bloody someone for fun. There have been shootings and stabbings. There have been gay bashings.
Lay that on top of the racial tensions and the fear and the anger, and you’d have a recipe for one giant powder keg, just waiting for a spark to set it alight.
So here I sit at the beginning of Pride month, a little numb and staring into the heart of a country that no longer feels like home, and I hide in my house, watching the chaos around me unfold. My agoraphobia makes it nearly impossible to join a peaceful protest. We will see a spike in virus numbers. This might devolve into a civil war, or at least that’s the way it feels.
Maybe it is the end of the world as we know it. I’m not convinced that is a bad thing. It’s up to us, every individual to decide how we rise from the ashes.
Please stay safe out there, Readers. Support your brothers and sisters as they cry out in rage for change, for equality, for an end to the violence of poverty, discrimination and straight out hate.
None of us are equal until we are all equal.