SFPD Eyes Use of Tasers in Wake of Top Brass Shake-up

 

In an effort to create a less-lethal police force, Mayor Ed Lee has agreed to add body cameras and possibly Taser guns in hopes of providing transparency between officers and citizens. Pending the Police Commission’s approval, body cameras could go live as soon as August 1st.

 

Lee’s call for reform comes weeks after Greg Suhr resigned from his position as police chief at the Mayor’s request. The tipping point for Lee was the fatal Bayview shooting of Jessica Williams, an unarmed 29-year-old women suspected of driving a stolen car. The May 19th shooting was the eighth of its kind by San Francisco police in the last two years.

 

“The progress we’ve made has been meaningful, but it hasn’t been fast enough. Not for me, not for Greg,” said Mayor Lee in a brief statement at City Hall. “That’s why I have asked Chief Suhr for his resignation. And in the best interest of the City he loves so much, he tendered his resignation.”

 

The Mayor positioned Toney Chaplin, a 26-year SFPD veteran, as interim chief. Given his tenure, Chaplin, who has served as sergeant, lieutenant, and captain, was agreed upon by both Lee and Suhr.

 

Together, the Mayor and the new chief are looking forward to advancements in the department.

 

“[Body cameras are] a game changer for the San Francisco Police Department and moves us firmly into 21st Century Policing,” Chief Chaplin said. “We welcome this agreement with the San Francisco Police Officers Association and we look forward to the deployment of the cameras as soon as possible.”

 

Lee is hopeful for a “racially sensitive police force,” but it is uncertain he has found the solution.

 

SFPD needs to build a new bridge between themselves and the communities that have been affected by the department’s scandals. In addition to officer-involved shootings, the department was exposed of racist and homophobic text messages dating back to 2011, all under the leadership of Suhr.

 

In April, five hunger strikers dubbed the Frisco 5 camped in tents outside of the Mission police station in protest of Suhr’s position. Ranging from ages 29 to 66, the five survived for 16 days on coconut water, juice, and broth to demand the resignation or firing of the then-Chief.

 

After an unmet attempt from the Mayor of in-person communication at Mission Police Station and unanswered knocks at Lee’s City Hall office door during the 500-person protest march on May 3rd, the Frisco 5’s hunger strike ended with the group being hospitalized for the sake of their health.

 

“It is unfortunate it required another innocent life to be taken, but it shows the power of the people and the community,” Frisco 5 striker Edwin Lindo said via Twitter of Suhr’s resignation.

 

The shooting of Jessica Williams was a direct violation of the department rules. Sergeant Justin Erb’s life was not in danger when Williams crashed into a parked car and he fired the single bullet that killed her.

 

San Francisco Police Department’s current Use of Force policy states that officers are encouraged to take as much time as necessary to resolve issues without use of force. The policy, which was revised March 21, 2016, also states any use of force must be reasonable and for a lawful purpose.

 

Suhr’s initial proposal of Tasers to the Police Commission came when 32-year-old Pralith Pralourng was shot by an SFPD officer on the Embarcadero in 2012 after lunging at the officer with a boxcutter.

 

Tasers would act as an alternative to batons, pepper spray, and beanbag shotguns. SFPD is one of only three California counties not using Tasers and locals are skeptical of the pending implementation.

 

In addition to costing millions of taxpayer dollars, the medical risks of stun guns is unknown.

 

On May 31, Killing Them Safely director Nick Berardini spoke at the Roxie Theater via Skype after a screening of his documentary film. The film chronicles Taser founders Rick and Tom Smith who have turned blind eyes to the dangers of their product.

 

Berardini says police departments are “incredibly wrong” about adding Tasers as an acceptable and necessary means of non-lethal force.

 

“The police training sessions [provided by Taser] are controlled and designed so that no one gets hurt,” Berardini said. “Nobody really understands how electricity works underneath the skin, through the natural layer of resistance. There is a very distinct and intentional difference between their training versus what actually happens in the field.”

 

Civil Rights attorney Angela Chan, who served on the San Francisco Police Commission from 2010 to 2014, says the Taser debate came up multiple times during time on staff.

 

“What is really aggravating is that each time [Tasers] came up was right after SFPD shot someone,” Chan says. “Where did you go wrong with basic communication? Why is the knee-jerk reaction: ‘I want a weapon’?”

 

Chan wonders if something else can be done. She suggests that officers need to allow more time and distance for de-escalation and use crisis intervention tools. She credits the community’s turn-out at public hearings as part of the reason the plans have been stalled throughout the years.

 

“Tasers are dangerous and used in addition to guns; they do not decrease injuries,” Chan said.

 

Despite its intent as a self-proclaimed “non-lethal” instrument meant to snuff disturbances, there have been 300 cases of Taser-related deaths since 2008.

 

Once voluntary, San Francisco police officers are now required to take 40 hours of crisis intervention training. In the case of Mario Woods who was shot 20 times in December 2015, three of the five officers involved had undergone crisis-intervention training. Recruits are working to achieve crisis-intervention certification before entering field training.

 

Mayor Lee’s plan to find a permanent police chief is ongoing.

 

 

••• ALSO IN THIS ISSUE •••

 

Kim Shuck, poet, fifth-generation San Franciscan and Castro resident, works on a piece of writing. Shuck is on the short-list to become Poet Laureate of San Francisco.

 

The Castro’s Poet

Area Artist Considered for Poet Laureate of City

 

 

Kim Shuck’s business card lists 42 occupations.

 

There are the obvious ones: writer, poet, teacher, artist, San Franciscan. Then there are the less obvious ones: sure shot, ropes thrown, balls juggled, watches repaired, events complicated, fences mended...

 

This year Shuck may have to add one more title to her card: San Francisco poet laureate.

 

Shuck, who lives on Eureka Street, in the Castro, is on the short list to succeed Alejandro Murguía as San Francisco’s Poet Laureate.

 

A citizen of the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma, Shuck’s art reflects her heritage, but it’s also a reflection of her eclectic tastes and interests. Her main creative outlets are poetry and writing, bead art, and weaving (she has an M.F.A in weaving from SF State), though she dabbles in many more.

 

Shuck was born in San Francisco in 1966, “just before the summer of love,” as she puts it. Her father, a Cherokee, was a career military man (Navy) and electrical engineer from Oklahoma, while her mother was an artist and teacher born in San Francisco. Shuck counts herself as a fifth generation San Franciscan.

 

As a youngster, she participated in the Alvarado Arts Workshop, which was founded in 1968 by renowned sculptor Ruth Asawa. She describes Noe Valley in the early ‘70s as a time of an “incredible moment of creativity” where famous musicians played the Noe Valley Street Fair and where roosters could be heard every morning in the middle of San Francisco.

 

Shuck said she “was raised in a house with genius” — her engineer father and artist mother — and with that came a serious expectation, “but also with a sort of open door of: be excellent but do it in whatever your thing is.”

 

She remembers creating her first book — The Mousehole — before she could write. In fact, Shuck’s development as a writer and artist is tied closely to her upbringing in San Francisco. Shuck says she “availed herself of the city in a big way,” finding mentors such as her elementary school friend’s mom, who happened to be Carol Lee Sanchez, a poet, artist, teacher, and activist of Native American heritage.

 

In fact, supportive mentors have played a large role in Shuck’s career.

 

“I am a person who is perfectly content to sit in my space, doing my stuff by myself,” she says. “I would not have ever done performance if I hadn’t been plucked by the scruff of the neck and made to do that.”

 

She cites Ruth Asawa, Carol Lee Sanchez, Nina Yokelson and Devorah Major as mentors, who in various ways pushed her forward.

 

For Shuck, art shouldn’t happen in isolation. Instead, it should be connected to the community. In between her bachelor’s and M.F.A. degree, Shuck worked with Asawa, whose mentality was “I want chaos! Think bigger! Do bigger!” It was with Asawa that she began to work in classrooms, to do public art.

 

Now, “mentor” is a title on Shuck’s business card, as is “teacher.” She’s a senior lecturer at California College of the Arts, where she teaches Native American Arts. She also continues to bring art to younger students, when she volunteers at Alvarado Elementary School.

 

Her favorite activity to do with second graders? Origami. In fact, if you visit Shuck, you just may walk away with an origami jumping frog as a souvenir.

 

On a recent Sunday, Shuck was at the home of her partner, Doug Salin, not far from the Glen Park BART station. Salin is a photographer with a unique sense of style and his house is a melange of knick-knacks and oddities, with a distinctive retro vibe. A recently adopted cat was hiding out under the vintage stove, occasionally poking out a paw.

 

The foyer features a table that serves as a kind of shrine to Shuck — on it lay pieces of her bead art, books of her poetry, and other mementos.

 

Also in the foyer is five-foot tall gum-ball machine that, for a quarter, will dispense a small plastic sphere containing a Shuck poem.

 

Sitting at the desk in the upstairs master bedroom, Shuck dons a hat of Doug’s that she is customizing with raven-imagery in beads as a tribute to a friend who recently passed away.

 

From the desk, Shuck can look south, past the City College of San Francisco, to see fog intermingling with sunlight over the hills.

 

Working here, and at her home in the Castro, Shuck has produced an impressive quantity of art. Her book of poetry Smuggling Cherokee was published in 2006. She published Clouds Running In in 2014.

 

Shuck’s beadwork is often produced as a gift, to tell a story for a particular person. During an interview with a reporter, Doug leaves the room and and each time returns with a unique piece of bead art. One piece is a butterfly, and each half of it has a different pattern.

 

It turns out, butterflies can be born half male and half female, a condition known as bilateral gynandromorphism. Beading butterflies like this, Shuck tells stories of gay Native American people.

 

Later, Doug brings out a sphere the size and shape of a baseball. In fact, it is a baseball, that Shuck has covered with beads, and peculiar evocative images: eyeballs within hands. Doug and Kim explain that she has created an artifact, and that they are waiting for a good story to emerge to tie to it.

 

Another entry on Shuck’s business card is poet wrangler. Having been mentored, she serves as a facilitator and organizer of poets in the city. Shuck curates a monthly poetry event at Modern Times Bookstore Collective on 24th Street in the Mission.

 

Speaking with Kim Shuck, you get the impression of a straight-talker. In fact, she says she learned to stand for herself going to an elite high school, coming from a lower-middle-class background. She said after picked on one too many times, she found her inner fierceness.

 

On her business card, that fierceness is expressed with one word: iconoclast.

 

Photo: Sam Omar-Hall

 

••• ALSO IN THIS ISSUE •••

 

PreP party

PreP Clinic Hits 1,000 Enrollees

 

SF AIDS Foundation celebrates milestone

Celebrating the 1000th PrEP Enrollment at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Principal staff and their teams who worked tirelessly and intensively to meet the constant requests, from sometimes as many as 50 to 80 individuals a day, included, from left to right, Nurse Practitioner Kellie Freeborn, new San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Joe Hollendoner, PrEP Benefits Manager Jayne Gagliano, Director of Nursing Pierre-Cedric Crouch, and Benefits Coordinator and PrEP NavigatorJimmy Gale

 

This is a story about the intense and dedicated labor of a team of professionals in one of the largest and oldest community-based AIDS service organizations in the United States and their success in creating and realizing an important vision.

 

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing services for people with HIV/AIDS, with a mission to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Founded in 1982, at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. San Francisco AIDS Foundation has been highly rated for accountability and transparency, according to Charity Navigator, an independent watchdog organization.

 

Since 2014, the foundation has been at the forefront of developing programs and enrolling clients in the use of PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, an anti-HIV prevention medication. On May 27 a staff party was held to celebrate the 1000th enrollment in the San Francisco AIDS Foundation PrEP clinic and acknowledge the successes of a tireless and dedicated team.

 

In 2012 when PrEP came out, the thinking was that PrEP was something that the foundation would refer clients to outside providers to do, because some medical management was involved. It was also somewhat different from what the foundation’s successful Magnet program had been doing, in effect, now requiring a PA (Physician’s Assistant) or NP (Nurse Practitioner) or similar medically credentialed professional.

 

In time, however, foundation staff found that a lot of the providers that clients were sent to were being subjected to a variety of restrictive judgments. Examples were that the provider would only give a client PrEP in certain situations, or that the client, they said, really did not need PrEP. Consequently clients were not getting the care they needed. In response, Magnet founder Steve Gibson and foundation staff decided to just “get together and do it ourselves, like we’ve always done in our community.” It was then decided to start offering PrEP at the foundation, and that is when Director of Nursing Pierre-Cedric Couch came on board, charged with developing the program.

 

Three more Nurse Practitioners were hired, building a team of four NP’s to deliver PrEP to now more than 1100 enrollees. The official first day of the program was in November of 2014, though they quickly outgrew their space at Magnet and had to stay open six days a week instead of the originally planned five. In January they moved to the foundation’s new building on Castro and started going full blast in February 2016. Though PrEP related activities were very important, often a delicate balance occurred as the unit struggled to provide services in the sexual health component (STDs) as well.

 

Initially space at Magnet was so small that the program never advertised PrEP, either online or in the clinic. You had to be in the know about the service. But despite that, soon they were booked up 4 to 6 weeks in advance with clients. Enrolling 6 to 8 people a day, a lot of clients came through word of mouth or from the referral of friends. Online was another popular option.

 

When the foundation agreed to take in the total process of enrolling and following up with clients, they purchased some in-house lab equipment so they could do some lab tests while a client was waiting for his appointment. There was no longer a need to go to another lab or wait for results to come back.

 

Another sticking area for clients was their insurance coverage and payment. If you look at the photo accompanying this article, you can see the PrEP Benefits Manager Jayne Gagliano and Benefits Coordinator and PrEP Navigator Jimmy Gale who spend all their time dealing with insurance companies, getting authorizations and approvals, verifying costs and filling out forms. When it became apparent that having forms notarized was important, all members of the benefits team became notaries to handle that operation. The model was to have all PrEP processes in one place and operating seamlessly.

 

The larger significance of this, and the one that motivates Nursing Director Pierre-Cedric, is that PrEP so delivered can remove the barriers to a loving, fulfilling and happy sex life, normal and free of the fear of HIV. At the start of the enrollment process each client is asked “What do you want PrEP to do for you?” Many have answered that they want to get rid of the lingering fear of HIV, of no longer having to make decisions about sex based on their partner’s situation, and the freedom to once again experience a happy and healthy sex life that is very compassionate, sex centered, and positive.

 

Photo: Bill Sywak

 

 

••• ALSO IN THIS ISSUE •••

 

Pride 2016 To Feature Less Pinkness

Last year’s Pride parade drew close to a million attendees as it coincided with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Pride in the Castro is losing a long-time tradition, as the unofficial Pink Saturday event has no sponsor this year. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence organized the street party for almost 20 years, but recent events were marred by violence.

 

Still, Pride goes on, and the 46th San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade will be held over the weekend of June 25 and 26.

 

Last year, Pride coincided with the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide, and the event saw record-high attendance. This year, up to 1.5 million people are expected.

 

SF Pride is the largest LGBT event in the nation, and it’s been called “one of the last remaining pride events that can truly be called a rite of passage.” For more than 40 years, SF Pride has advanced its mission to educate the world about LGBT issues, commemorate heritage, celebrate culture, and liberate LGBT people.

 

The theme of the 2016 Pride Celebration is “For Racial and Economic Equality.” Black Lives Matter, the anti-police-brutality activist group, which advocates for marginalized people who are black, queer, transgender, differently abled, undocumented, and formerly incarcerated, has been named the Organizational Grand of Marshal of the event.

 

The cast members of TRANSCENDENT have been named Celebrity Grand Marshals. The hit docu-series follows young, talented trans women as they navigate their professional, personal and romantic lives while performing at AsiaSF — one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurant-cabarets.

 

Other local heroes in the queer community have been named as Individual Community Grand Marshals. Larry Yang, a meditation and mindfulness teacher, is one of those.

 

“I am deeply honored to be in the company of my co-Grand Marshals — Janetta Johnson, Black Lives Matter, Mia “Tu Mutch” Satya, and Fresh! White,” he said. “Who and what we collectively represent broadens the landscape of equity and justice — and I am so inspired. Thank you.”

 

Sadly, the unofficial Pink Saturday street party will not have a sponsor or street closures this year, Supervisor Scott Wiener recently confirmed.

 

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had put on Pink Saturday for nearly twenty years before they decided to end their oversight of the street party in 2015. Increased acts of violence had marred the event. One of the sisters and his husband were attacked in 2014, while Stephen Powell, 19, was shot and killed at the party in 2010. Last year, the LGBT Community Center came to the rescue and took over responsibility for the event, renaming it the Pink Party. But according to Wiener, the Center doesn’t have the capacity to continue producing the street party.

 

“They don’t have the staff and it’s not a core part of what they do,” he told the Bay Area Reporter. “There’s no other community group that’s stepped up to do the Pink Party.”

 

But not to worry, Pride in San Francisco still features a full weekend of parties, gatherings, and parades. Several independent community events are not to be missed.

 

JUNE 22

 

Start things off on Wednesday, June 22, at the Bi-Pride potluck hosted by the Bi-Bq and the Bay Area Bisexual Network in Dolores Park.

 

JUNE 24

 

Meet at Dolores Park again for the Trans March, at 19th and Dolores on Friday, June 24, at 1:00 p.m. The march starts at 6:00 p.m. Every year, thousands of people attend to support the trans community. This year’s theme is, “Embrace our Legacy: We are Still Here.”

 

This year’s march marks the 50th anniversary of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, which happened in August 1966, three years before the better-known Stonewall Riot. The Tenderloin location of Compton’s was one of the few places where transgender people could gather publicly in the city. In the mid-60s, the Compton’s Cafeteria staff began to call the police to crack down on transgender customers. In response to police arrests, the transgender community started a picket in front of Compton’s Cafeteria. A riot broke out after a trans woman threw her coffee in the face of a police officer’s who was trying to arrest her.

 

JUNE 25

 

Wake up early on Saturday, June 25, and head up to Twin Peaks to help to set up the giant Pink Triangle, a symbol that reminds the LGBT community of the continuing homophobia and inhumanity against them and other repressed minorities around the world. Volunteers are asked to arrive at 7:00 a.m. with a hammer and gloves to transform the side of the north hill facing the Castro district and downtown into a memorial by installing a giant pink triangle made up of pieces of pink canvas. The triangle can be seen from miles away. A commemoration ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m.

 

Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet’s 18th Annual Pride Brunch, starts at 11:00 a.m. at Hotel Whitcomb, at 1231 Market St., and honors the Grand Marshals. The SF Pride celebration officially starts at noon on Pride Saturday, June 25, at the Civic Center. The Main Stage is the largest and is located in Civic Center Plaza next to City Hall.

 

Saturday, June 25th also marks the annual San Francisco Dyke March, a gathering that brings LGBT women and allies together to celebrate unity and to raise consciousness and visibility. The rally starts in Dolores Park at noon, the march leaves at 3:30 p.m. and arrives in the Castro by 5:00 p.m. Follow the ladies over to the House of Babes Big Queer Pride Party at Public Works, 161 Erie St. Or hit up BB5, the BeatBox’s fifth anniversary party at 314 11th St. (Between Folsom and Harrison). Or check out Boy Division, SF’s Queerwave Dance Party, at Codeword at 917 Folsom St. and get your rainbow glow-bracelet at the door.

 

JUNE 26

 

The official Pride Parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, at Market and Beale and ends at Market and 8th. Don’t miss San Francisco Dykes on Bikes, a parade institution. SF Pride ends at 6:00 p.m. For those who don’t want the epic weekend to end, head to Hard French at Mezzanine, at 444 Jessie St. from 3:00 p.m. on. Or hit up Electroluxx’s Sunday MASS at the Chapel, 777 Valencia St., for three stages of music, silent disco, face painting, virtual reality and wild costumes.

 

 

••• ALSO IN THIS ISSUE •••

 

Live! In the Castro To Host Summer Concerts

 

The Pat Wilder Band plays at Jane Warner Plaza as part of Live! In the Castro.

 

 

Live! In The Castro is in full swing with more to offer than ever before. Music, dance, spoken word, an artisan’s bazaar, and community events all happen at the Jane Warner Plaza, which graces the southern intersection of Castro, Market, 17th Streets. Live! In The Castro is presented by the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District, or CBD, which works to improve the quality of life within the community for residents and visitors alike. Andrea Aiello, executive director of the CBD, shared her thoughts and enthusiasm about this year’s season of events.

 

Wendy: Your season opened last month, in May, and runs through October, with what looks like an expanded calendar in 2016. This year it looks like you have more diverse programming than ever, including an artisan’s bazaar in June.

 

Andrea: Yes, we’re really excited about this idea to have a Castro Bazaar once a month during the summer, to coincide with the farmer’s market. People are out and about on Wednesday late afternoons; the farmer’s market is at Noe and Market, and we’ll have an artisan’s bazaar up at Castro and Market. I think it’ll be great.

 

Wendy: That sounds wonderful. That will be on Wednesday, June 15th.

 

Andrea: Yes, this is going to be our first one, the inaugural. Then we have them once a month; July 20th and August 17th are scheduled.

 

Wendy: Of course you’ll have live music, as you do every year, and I understand that you’re always looking for new artists who are interested in being part of things as well.

 

Andrea: Yes we are. We’re always looking for people who are interested in performing, whether it’s dance, or music, or spoken word, and even for non-profits to do community outreach and education or fundraising in the Jane Warner Plaza. We’re really opening up all the possibilities to a lot of different creative ideas. We also want to encourage people to bring music during the week. A lot of the time people who perform have day jobs so they just do the gig on the weekends or in the evenings; we’re really also looking for people who are available during the weekdays to play during the morning commute times, or early afternoon commute times, just to bring some positive energy to the space. I’m glad you noticed that we’re expanding the calendar. We did get a grant from the city. Supervisor Wiener really advocated on our behalf to get money allocated in the budget, and then we went through this grant process, so we do have city funding this year to supplement what we’ve been doing in the past, so you see a fuller calendar. We’re really excited about a lot of things that are happening there.

 

Wendy: On that note, it seems like that plaza started as a little bit of an experiment, and then it received the ok for permanent status as a public space. It also seems as though there have been quite a few upgrades made there since it’s inception in 2009.

 

Andrea: Yes, it was established first as a temporary space in 2009. There have been a couple of changes to the physical realm. The biggest change was in 2010 when the concrete planters went in, but we’ve been researching how to manage these public spaces for quite a while, and have come up with the idea that spaces like the Jane Warner Plaza in densely populated cities like San Francisco, with a lot of challenges, really need to be well managed. The city has a new permitting process - we’ll be applying to be the official stewards of the plaza. We anticipate, probably in September, October, we will be the official stewards for the plaza; we’ll be managing it better and planning more events. One of the ideas that we’ll be implementing is having some interns that will be ambassadors for the plaza. There [are] a lot of different ideas to try to bring multiple uses to the space and a lot of positive energy, including having tables and chairs out more often, with people who have the responsibility to keep an eye on things, keep it clean, and just be a positive presence in the space.

 

Wendy: Of course it’s pride month, and you’ll have a special community outreach project that you’re doing with the Rainbow World Fund.

 

Andrea: Yes. They’re gonna bring their bus into the plaza on the Sunday of Gay Pride Day. The will be doing outreach to the neighbors, and to visitors, educating them about the incredible work that the Rainbow World Fund does internationally, in spreading humanitarian aid across the globe. It’s LGBT folks who are out there, both raising money and bringing medical supplies or other things to Mexico, or to El Salvador, and the bus goes down to South America. So, the bus will be in the plaza, doing some community education and bringing some good will.

 

Wendy: They do incredible work. One of the mainstays of entertainment at the plaza has always been music, aside from other super performers, like the Castro Flaggers.

 

Andrea: This Saturday we start off with the Klipptones, [who] are a San Francisco favorite. They play jazz and swing. We have the Kilpptones at least once a year in the Jane Warner Plaza; they’re very popular and well known. They play all over the city and all over the Bay Area. The Flaggers [June 5th] of course bring their beautiful tie dyed flags. On the 11th is the Sundance Saloon; they’re returning. They’re a gay country western line dancing group and they take over the space doing line dancing. The Ps & Qs are the very next day on Sunday the 12th, and they’re brand new to the Jane Warner Plaza. They are a lesbian band that plays Americana or porch music; it has a country flavor to it. They’re also a San Francisco band. The Damfino Players are on the 18th and they are a swing band, very popular; they’ve been here before and they bring in a lot of people from the swing dance community, dancing in the plaza. Then REAL BAD, the fundraising grassroots gay rights group, they do a lot of fundraising, particularly at Folsom Street Fair, and they’ll be doing an outreach event, also on the 18th, after the Damfino Players finish. That should be really fun. I think what they’re planning is a surprise; they call it a party. We have an art show on the 19th in the plaza. Mary DeLave will be bringing her art out and selling her art. It’s Father’s Day, so it’ll be mellow, but again, positive use.

 

Wendy: What a wonderful way to welcome all of the visitors that will be here for Pride. Really, whether you live here or are coming here for the first time, what a great thing to see when you enter into the Castro community.

 

Andrea: You know, when I go and visit other places, whether it’s in the United States or internationally, it’s always so much fun to happen upon live music or live entertainment. You didn’t know it was there and you just happen upon something local that’s happening, and I hope that the visitors to the Castro feel that way when they happen upon the Jane Warner Plaza and they can hang out for an hour and listen to some local music. I’m really excited. I think this season is gonna be great and we’re gearing up to go through the fall.

 

Wendy: How did you become involved with this project, Live! In The Castro, and the CBD?

 

Andrea: I’ve been with the Community Benefit District, at first very part time, since about 2008. I was hired, part time, as a grant writer for the Community Benefit District, and as I learned more about the mission of the District, and all about improving the neighborhood, working closely with community groups to make it a better quality of life, also more of a vibrant neighborhood and more of a beautiful neighborhood, all the pieces - the beautification, the quality of life, and the economic vitality all kind of came together. It felt so exciting to be able to work in a job that was so community based. I have a public health degree and I was doing a lot of very theoretical work, and policy work, and grant writing, and this was so concrete and I loved that. I also really loved working with people who care so much about their neighborhood and want to make improvements to their neighborhood, and the Castro was this incredible fit. I also bring with me to this job a public health perspective that this is all about building community, and building healthy communities with increased capacity for healthy lifestyles. It’s all about building healthy communities and this fits right in to that larger mission.

 

 

Photo courtesy of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District

© Castro Courier 2014 No part of this website or artwork portrayed may be redistributed or republished without the express permission of the Castro Courier. Opinions expressed are strictly those of the writers and do not reflect the opinions of the publisher or staff.

Last year’s Pride parade drew close to a million attendees as it coincided with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Celebrating the 1000th PrEP Enrollment at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Principal staff and their teams who worked tirelessly and intensively to meet the constant requests, from sometimes as many as 50 to 80 individuals a day, included, from left to right, Nurse Practitioner Kellie Freeborn, new San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Joe Hollendoner, PrEP Benefits Manager Jayne Gagliano, Director of Nursing Pierre-Cedric Crouch, and Benefits Coordinator and PrEP NavigatorJimmy Gale

© Castro Courier 2014