San Francisco's often querulous political leadership was singing "Kumbaya" today at City Hall, with the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor, and others presenting a united liberal front at an innocuously named rally: "We Stand Together Unity Gathering." The event might be seen as an implicit stance against far-right conservatism avowed by President-Elect Donald Trump and his supporters, and it sought to emphasize local politicians' similarities over their differences, which appear increasingly minor in comparison to the widening political chasm nationally. Holding signs that read "we stand as one" over a pink map of San Francisco's districts, Supervisors, police department officials, community leaders, and others gathered as Mayor Lee spoke.
“We know that in our city there are people who are angry, fearful, and frustrated,” Lee said according to the Examiner. “Our city has never been about that. Our city is a city of sanctuary, refuge and a city of love. We have to speak to the next generation who are scared and fearful."
That statement as well as a message on Twitter reaffirmed San Francisco's commitment to its status as a Sanctuary City, a policy of discretion regarding cooperation with federal immigration agents. The renewed commitment comes as President-Elect Trump has vowed to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities in his first 100 days in office, a move that could imperil $1 billion of federal funding for San Francisco.
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus provided the entertainment for the gathering, performing a few numbers. ABC 7 reported this weekend that the group has just scrapped its plans to sing in China and Cuba for its 40th anniversary tour in favor of singing in red states like Mississippi and Tennessee.
"In response to the election, we decided we have as much work to do at home as we would do abroad," director Tim Seelig told the news channel. "We want to go to those places that are still strongholds of this kind of discrimination and bigotry. And bring our voice. And encourage people there with our music. And also hopefully change some hearts and minds."