Fayette County, GA – Look, I’m going to start by saying this: first, Happy Pride Day and Happy SF Pride Day (which is really also happy Oakland Pride Day, too, but I don’t want to get complicated). Second, you don’t have to be gay to say that; I am not. The reason I start this post with that, is I believe many people don’t get what it’s about for people to assemble at events like, in the case of the San Francisco Bay Area, The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Breakfast. And as I write that, I think of my friend who’s not there, as I am not; the late San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.
First, what the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club is, is the oldest LGBT democratic club in America, having started in 1971. And no, you don’t have to be gay to join it. Plus, they have a kickass Pride Day Breakfast. If you want to do business in the San Francisco Bay Area, you need to get your ass to that event, annually.
Hey, Senator Kamela Harris can tell ya…
Second, what it’s all about is a celebration of people who believe in civil rights for all, who are involved in San Francisco, Oakland, and Bay Area Politics, and who just plain love to have a great time. If you’ve never been to San Francisco or Oakland, the one thing the Inner Bay Area, as I call it, is about, is finding an excuse to party. Or, as we say, party with a purpose. Jeff Adachi was one of those prominent San Franciscans who did just that.
Jeff Adachi was a fixture at the annual The Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club Breakfast, which is going on as I write this. No, he wasn’t gay either. What Jeff always had on, was a t-shirt that repped what he stood for: human rights for all, and not human rights for some.
What hurts about writing this is that for me, Jeff Adachi was like part of the furniture at The Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club Breakfast. As much as my friend (well, we’ve been a lot of things over the years) Beth Schntizer, who turned me on to the event to start with, Jeff Adachi was a fixture at it. Walking over, to shake hands, catch up on whatever I was doing, and remind me to attend or at least pass the word about whatever event he had coming up.
As small as that may seem to be when it happens, you miss that when people like Jeff are gone. He was there to show he cares about people, and his friends, and having a good time. But he also cared to let you know that we had a long way to go.
One t-shirt Jeff sported about, I think it was three years ago, said in giant letters BLACK LIVES MATTER. Stop for a moment and consider the powerful image of an Asian man with a black t-shirt with giant white letters that read BLACK LIVES MATTER.
When I saw Jeff make the rounds and head my way, that gave me the idea that, come what may, we were all headed in the right direction. Now, Jeff’s not black, but he’s got his BLACK LIVES MATTER t-shirt on, and you can’t miss it.
That’s the point of today: we’re all in this together, working to make sure we all enjoy and maintain the basic human rights this great country we love was built on.
I wish I could be there, and I still keep my Oakland apartment, but my Mom needs my company here in Georgia (even though she tells me to go home and stop worrying about her). I’m the only child, and so I believe it’s my responsility to be here. Lord knows I’ve had my share of good times, in part thanks to Beth.
In closing, as I raise a glass, here’s to Jeff Adachi, and to all who enjoy just letting people be who they are, and making sure they have the right to be who they are.
Happy Pride Day!
And for those of you who’ve never met Jeff, here’s one of my vlog interviews:
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