The attack on Matthew Shepard

Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest

Matthew Shepard

Sometimes it seems our community loves to eat their own. We put people up on pedestals, and then try to knock them down. Recently, a so called “gay writer” released a book, that took him eight years to write, trying to destroy the late Matthew Shepard. I know his parents and most people have gotten to know Judy Shepard, who has become a beloved figure nationally. A hate crime bill was passed in Congress and signed by President Obama, named after Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Matthew Shepard was not the perfect young man; his parents have never claimed such. Matthew was young and had his troubles, like all of us. Harvey Milk and Bayard Rustin were not perfect … pot smoking, etc., and even a public park “sex crime” arrest. President John F. Kennedy was not perfect either and was a womanizer. Who cares? These men are symbolic figures and, yes, icons. And if you’re looking for the perfect hero, martyr, leader, etc., well, good luck, because you will never, ever find that person. Period.

Thank you, Chris Shaw

For more than 40 years our community has been able to count on Chris Shaw. He has supported almost every cause, organization, charity event, AIDS fundraiser, civil rights battle, etc. I’ve known Chris since he was 17 years old and have seen him build a business empire from the W.C.P.C., Club West Coast, etc. to now Mo’s, Baja Betty’s, Gossip Grill, Hillcrest Brewing Company with his life partner, Doug Snyder. Chris is probably one of the most popular and respected businessmen in our community and treats his staff like gold. Trust me, he shares the wealth.

The other day, I got a call from Doug Case (president, Democrats for Equality) who wanted my help in getting some food for a reception following GLBT pioneer Gloria Johnson’s memorial. Of course, I called Chris and he is helping (also a special thank you to the Imperial Court, County Commissioner Bruce Abrams and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria). Sometimes I think our community takes some of our donors for granted; people like Frank Stirriti, Ben Dillingham, Gene Burkard, the late Darl Edwards, Rick Ford, the Vasics and many others; people who have been supporting our community for decades. I just wanted to publicly say “Thank you” to Chris Shaw for always being there for me and our community.

La La’s Birthday Bash: Nov. 9

Empress, La La (Michael Zarbo) will be having a birthday bash this Saturday, Nov. 9 at Numbers, 5-9 p.m. and you’re all invited. It’s dinner, a show, raffles and lots of fun in honor of one of our community’s hardest working advocates. In lieu of gifts, she is requesting a donation for the student scholarship fund (established in 1979) or the Ben F. Dillingham Fund. Thanksgiving Dinner at The Center

The annual Scott Carlson Dinner is our community’s largest running Thanksgiving Dinner – welcoming all, especially the homeless, people living with AIDS, cancer, seniors and people living alone. It’s a wonderful loving meal put on by the Imperial Court, businesses and donors. Mayor Maureen O’Connor went to our very first one and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria will stop by this year at The LGBT Center on Thanksgiving Day between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Last year was our biggest crowd. Dinners were also taken to hospitals and family homes. We still need your help with food and donations. For more information, please contact Kaiden at 619-674-1476 or 619-692-1967.

LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor: Nov. 7

Today, Thursday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. will be the second annual official induction of LGBT veterans to the Benjamin F. Dillingham and Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor at The Center’s auditorium. San Diego should be proud as we are the only city which has such a wall in the USA. I am proud to be the founder of this wall and thank The Center’s staff and LGBT Veteran’s Advisory Committee for all their hard work. Please try to attend and support and congratulate all of our new LGBT veteran inductees to this wall of pride, service and patriotism.

Nicole Murray Ramirez has been an award-winning columnist since 1973, and a Latino and gay activist for more than 40 years. He is currently a city commissioner and has served the last six 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.

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Posted by on Nov 7, 2013. Filed under Bottom Highlights, Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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