After arrests were made and charges filed against two of the protesters who linked arms and lay down across Market Street to disrupt the San Francisco Pride parade last month, the board of SF Pride gave a press conference this week asking that those charges be dropped.
"These activists identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community, but don't agree with how our parade and celebration are structured," said interim Pride board executive director Fred Lopez, in a statement. "San Francisco Pride is not a decision maker in whether or not the DA decides to continue with the charges. We want to make it clear that we have encouraged the DA to drop all charges related to this incident. This has been our position since the day of the parade."
Taryn Saldivar, 21, of Oakland, and Kenneth Bilecki, 27, of Santa Rosa were among a dozen people who halted the June 30 parade for an hour and engaged with police on Market Street, and they were both arrested and charged with resisting arrest and interfering with a parade.
As the Bay Area Reporter tells us, the SF Pride board posted a statement on their website on July 3 stating their position that the charges should be dropped.
But the long-embattled board is still facing criticism over the matter, and for the fact that they permitted Google to be included among the parades contingents despite protest from the company's own LGBTQ employees.
As the Examiner reports, the "little-promoted" press conference this week was allegedly scheduled "after a few Jiminy Crickets from Abolish ICE, and other groups, voiced their consciences at the Pride Board’s July 17 meeting" about the arrestees.
The protesters at the parade had a lengthy list of demands that were — in the spirit of a lot of progressive activism — quite varied. These included removing corporate sponsorship from Pride, banning all police presence from Pride festivities, and ending the incarceration of trans people.
At Tuesday's press conference, Lopez said on behalf of SF Pride, "We support change in any law enforcement system that unfairly targets trans individuals and people of color. We acknowledge systemic racism and understand the urgency for ideas and solutions which can create equitable progress."
The Bay Area Reporter asked Lopez if he thought it was ironic that an event commemorating a protest — this year's Pride theme was "generations of resistance," referring to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots — was itself met with protest, Lopez said he didn't understand the question.