A hate crime against one is a hate crime against allConversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Commentary: Conversations with Nicole
A big Happy Birthday to my good friends Big Mike and Kurt Cunningham. I wish the two of you many, many more.
Dear Johnathan Hale …
Your recent positive written remarks concerning my and others involvement in the hate crime burning of the Jehovah’s Witness church was appreciated. But with all due respects, Johnathan, The Salvation Army and Jehovah’s Witness issues are not the same. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not lobby, vote or get involved with political or government legislation. But they do ostracize, excommunicate or, as they call it, “disfellowship” anyone who is open and actively GLBT. Yes, they sadly also speak about the “evils of homosexuality.”
The Salvation Army is the complete opposite when it comes to GLBT civil rights. They get involved and lobby against GLBT civil rights legislation and do so worldwide. I personally have known transgender and gay couples who have been refused help and services. That being said, I think your meeting with local Salvation Army officials to try to get the local chapter to understand our community is a good thing. I personally have never called for a boycott of The Salvation Army. Nor did I condemn you, Carl DeMaio or any GLBT activist for volunteering at their Thanksgiving dinner for homeless people. Others in our community have. Also Johnathan, could you please refer to me as “he” instead of “she.” I may do drag at times, but I’m not a woman. Thanks!
More about the Jehovah’s Witness issue
Well, Councilman Todd Gloria and I have garnered many comments from GLBT San Diegans concerning our support of the recent Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall three hate crime attempts to burn their church down. A vast majority supportive, but some have been negative.
As for me, I stand by my actions of getting Crime Stoppers to use the special Hate Crimes Fund that we set up; (by the way this fund was set up to assist in any hate crime issue and $1,000 was requested by me and issued for the reward money now being offered.) When I was chairman of our city’s Human Relations Commission I spoke out against hate crimes against Jewish temples, Christian churches, Muslim mosques etc. Yes, even those who are anti-gay. Do I feel for those GLBT Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been ostracized and thrown out of their church and had their own families turn their backs on them. Of course I do. So many religious institutions have done so much to hurt and harm our community, I know this. But I firmly believe that all houses of worship should be safe places and their congregations should feel safe in their churches, temples and mosques.
Yes, I firmly believe a hate crime against one is a hate crime against all of us. I want to sincerely thank Assistant Police Chief Cesar Solis, Ms. Sally Cox of Crime Stoppers, Ms. Danell Scarborough of HRC/City of San Diego and Jamie Rice, chief of staff to Councilman Gloria for their assistance to me when it came to this hate crime. And a special thank you to all those who expressed their support of my actions and, yes, I respect and understand those who had a different view from our community.
Why did Bienestar and APICAP close?
Those of us who were supportive of the Asian Pacific Islander Community AIDS Program (APICAP) and Bienestar – two AIDS organizations – often ask why they closed their doors and seemingly disappeared into the night. Bienestar is a highly respected California AIDS agency which used to have around nine centers across the state. A few months ago San Diego became its second center to cease operations. While I don’t know all the details I believe Bienestar has been affected, like so many nonprofits, by government cuts in AIDS funding and contributions. There are still seven Bienestar centers open in Los Angeles County and they continue to have an outstanding reputation. Bienestar’s founder Oscar De La O is a true hero when it comes to AIDS and the Latino community, and I had the honor to work with him in the 1990s when I was the national chairman of LEGGO, the national GLBT Latino organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.
The story of the closing of APICAP is much, much different. To be blunt its founder/executive director stole more than $70,000 from APICAP and a Tijuana AIDS clinic. Yes, I said stole this money and dropped out of sight and was never prosecuted. When the APICAP board of directors discovered this theft they were forced to close APICAP’s doors.
San Diego Leadership Council endorses Milk Street name campaign
The San Diego Leadership Council is made up of more than 40 GLBT organizations whose representatives meet once a month at The Center. At their last meeting they officially endorsed our efforts to get a street named in Hillcrest after Harvey Milk. As chair of the hard-working committee which meets at the San Diego Pride office we hope to celebrate May 22, Harvey Milk’s birthday, with a new street! In the future our committee hopes to work on future streets being named after Sen. Chris Kehoe and Jess Jessop. I want to thank Dwayne Crenshaw and Fernando Lopez of San Diego Pride for their work on this important project.
Fletcher’s GLBT event set for Jan. 26
Popular former Marine and current state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is having events hosted by our city’s diverse communities and neighborhoods all over San Diego.
Thursday, Jan. 26 some GLBT community leaders and activists will be hosting a campaign event for Nathan at the Bamboo Lounge (6-8 p.m.). For more info: Brian@nathanfletcher.com or 858-457-1393.
Nicole Murray Ramirez has been an award-winning columnist since 1973, and a Latino and gay activist for well over 40 years. He is currently a city commissioner and has served the last five mayors of San Diego. He is also a national board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation and chairman of the International Court Council of the USA, Canada and Mexico. Nicolemrsd@aol.com.
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=19627