Posted on May 9, 2013 by the Communications Committee
Peace and Freedom has long supported Bradley Manning and all other whistleblowers and political prisoners. They's why we were pleased to learn of of the SF Pride Electoral College's selection of Army Private First Class Bradley Manning be a grand marshal of the 2013 San Francisco Pride Celebration. But San Francisco Pride’s President (and Democratic Party politico) Lisa L. Williams intervened to withdraw and reject Bradley Manning's selection, leading to a storm of protest from Veterans groups and the LGBT community. We print one example below. For another statement, the latest news, and to sign the petition in support of Bradley Manning, go to the Free Bradley Manning website.
LGBTQ leaders uphold selection of Bradley Manning as SF Pride grand marshal
At an emergency meeting (April 28, 2013) called by Commander John Caldera to address the controversy surrounding the decision of San Francisco Pride’s President Lisa L. Williams to withdraw and reject the SF Pride Electoral College’s selection of Army Private First Class Bradley Manning as their choice as a 2013 Parade Grand Marshal, the members of the Bob Basker Post 315 of the American Legion have voted to call for the resignation of Ms. Williams as SF Pride Board of Directors.
For the past five years, Post 315 has served as a “Community Partner” of SF Pride. After a lengthy discussion, the Post Officers and Members unanimously voted to call for the resignation of Ms. Williams for conduct which has brought shame and disgrace to membership of SF Pride as well as the LGBT community of the City of San Francisco.
In a statement written by Ms. Williams on April 26, 2013, she claims that Bradley Manning’s nomination, “was a mistake and should never have been allowed to happen.” By taking this action, Ms. Williams has negated and belittled all the voices of our community leaders and local celebrities who have taken this action.
Furthermore Ms. Williams goes on to state: “even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country.”
And yet a quick search of the SF Pride’s website shows a corporate list of organizations, banks and businesses that have indeed placed countless Veterans and non-Veterans “in harms way.”
Wells Fargo and Bank of America, two of America’s largest loan mortgagers, each has foreclosed on over 200 military members whose homes were wrongfully taken during 2009 and 2010. These foreclosures violate the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a federal law requiring banks to obtain court orders before foreclosing on active-duty servicemembers. Bank of America, now being sued for $1 billion by the US government for engaging in a systematic mortgage fraud which the US Attorney called "spectacularly brazen in scope." In March 2013, the same SF Pride sponsor received a record fine for ignoring a court order for trying to collect mortgage payments from bankrupt homeowners to which it was not entitled.
AT&T was found by the FCC last year to have overcharged customers by secretly switching them to plans they didn't want, and is currently being sued by the US government for billing the government improperly for services designed for the deaf and hard-of-hearing who place calls by typing messages over the web.
Bradley Manning might not represent the ideal as a Grand Marshal to everybody but he does represent as a symbol for continuing struggle for human rights, doing the right thing and telling the truth. The San Francisco queer community has the right to be heard and honor whom they chose. SF Pride needs to be more, “people first and corporations seconds” and not the other way around.
Bradley Manning needs to be reinstated as a San Francisco Honorary Grand Marshal and Ms. Williams needs to step down as SF Pride President.
For further comment or questions, please contact Commander John Caldera via email: SFCommishCaldera [at] aol [dot] com