Alice Celebrates 40 Years with Pride!
On Pride Sunday, Alice had the most successful pride breakfast in our 40-year history! We broke records on every front, ticket sales, attendance, fundraising, and compliments on a job well done. In fact, we sold out the event and had to shut down our online ticketing service! Thank you to our incredible events team, co-chaired by Jason Chan and Jack Song, as well as some distinct members of the board of directors, and our wonderful membership. One thing to keep in mind, for next year, is to buy your tickets early if you want to attend this event. It certainly has become the most important political event in our city, as Beth Spotswood from SF chronicle stated “Pride Breakfast is like political class picture day. To attempt political office in San Francisco and blow off the Pride Breakfast is, from the looks of the turnout, campaign suicide. One must never snub the gays.” (Rise and Shine! It’s the Alice B. Toklas Club Pride Breakfast, SF Gate, June 29, 2011)
Alice has certainly kept the momentum going through the summer, as we engaged a coalition of LGBT organizations to speak out against the proposed redistricting maps that would (if put in effect) dilute the LGBT vote. The current districts have consolidated San Francisco’s most gay-friendly neighborhoods that have allowed Carole Migden, Mark Leno, and Tom Ammiano to be elected. If these neighborhoods are split as proposed by the current California Citizens Redistricting Commission, we could easily regress politically. Alice led the effort by uniting EQCA, National Center for Lesbian Rights, The LGBT Center, and the Log Cabin Republicans, to testify before the Commission on June 30, 2011. (Redistricting worries San Francisco’s gay leaders, SF Examiner, Worth, July 1, 2011) The testimony and our joint letter to the Commission caused the Commission to respond with a new map that was more favorable to our plight, thanks to Alice’s leadership and our very strong coalition of activists. Alice is continuing the effort by uniting even more organizations including Chinatown Community Development Center, Asian Pacific American Community Center, Visitacion Valley Asian Alliance, and the Asian Law Caucus, as well as other important organizations to stand with us in letting the commission know that communities of interest cannot and should not be split and the LGBT vote should stay strong. Stay tuned as we further engage the Commission in this regard.
All of this effort and Alice’s historical and effective political activism has certainly caught the public’s attention. Alice is a force in our community and continues to be a pivotal organization at a local, state and national level. For example, one of our founding members, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, introduced the Respect for Marriage Act earlier this year, to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. She is currently working with married same-sex couples to testify before congress to let the members know that “[t]hese couples live their lives like all married people. They share financial expenses, they raise children together and they care for each other in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death they do part. But because of DOMA, these couples cannot take advantage of the more than 1,100 federal protections available to every other married couple in this country.” (Walking the Walk on the Defense of Marriage Act, Huffington Post, July 22, 2011.)
So as we celebrate the final implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (to be in effect by September 2011), and Gay Marriage in the largest state to date, New York, we should remember that it is because of grass-roots political organizations, such as Alice that all of this was made possible. It is because of your efforts and your fight that created such a swift momentum to cause such incredible change.
Alice is the oldest and largest LGBT Democratic Club and as we applaud the historical change taking place, we should also take the time to look back at our own history and be proud of the distance we have traveled together, in order to better navigate the road ahead of us. This year, Alice is celebrating its 40th anniversary and it would be my pleasure to celebrate it with all of you. Please join us at our many events this year, beginning with visiting our exhibits at the GLBT Historical Society (on display the entire month of August) and our special events scheduled for August 1, and August 8, 2011, at the museum. More information on these and many other events included in this newsletter. I look forward to seeing you all there!
Bentrish Satarzadeh, Co-Chair
Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club