Historic Castro District Sidewalks to Hold Tribute to Historic Figures
11 February 2011 – San Francisco, CA: Like a rainbow ribbon through the sidewalks of San Francisco, a new tribute to historic LGBT figures is taking shape. This week the first 20 names for The Rainbow Honor Walk (www.rainbowhonorwalk.org), spearheaded by a volunteer citizens group, were announced.
“Our goal is to honor notable LGBT women and men who have added to the betterment of all peoples through their contributions to the arts, sciences, politics, and sports,” said Isak Lindenauer, Co-Chair of the Rainbow Honor Walk Steering Committee. “We want to show the richness and diversity of LGBT people by placing their names on plaques in the sidewalks of the Castro community.”
“This is literally a tribute to those who have walked the walk and talked the talk for LGBT freedom and equality,” said Rainbow Honor Walk Co-Chair David Perry. “Through these names we show that we are everyone, we are everywhere and we do everything.”
The idea for the project had a dual genesis. In 1994, Perry suggested the idea and received media attention and the support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. However, the overwhelming priorities of the AIDS/HIV pandemic put the project, and its fundraising goals, on hiatus. In 2009, Lindenauer, unaware of the earlier effort, envisioned the Rainbow Honor Walk. Lindenauer and Perry joined forces, put together a volunteer committee of community leaders and received the unanimous support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
“These are just the first 20 of what we hope will be hundreds of names,” says Lindenauer, noting the Walk stretches from Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on 19th Street at Diamond down to Castro. On Castro Street — the LGBT community’s “Main Street” – the walk will continue up to Market Street with additional wings along 18th Street. On Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, the Walk will continue to the LGBT Center at Octavia Boulevard.
“It’s appropriate that Castro because of its historic significance in the international LGBT world be the place for these first tributes,” said Perry, explaining the criteria for the first 20 names: self expressed LGBT individuals, now deceased, who made significant contributions in their fields.
Lindenauer and Perry stressed that the next step is the development of a design for the plaques by the Steering Committee that will then be vetted, and approved by the San Francisco Arts Commission. When that has been completed and the funds have been raised, the plaques will be crafted and their placing on the sidewalks will begin.
The Rainbow Honor Walk steering committee is entirely volunteer and will be raising funds for the Walk’s construction under the auspices of the Castro Community Benefit District.
The Rainbow Honor Walk Steering Committee Members are as follows:
Kathy Amendola (Cruisin’ the Castro Tours), Katharine Holland (Coldwell-Banker), Ben Leong (Gay Asian Pacific Islander Alliance), Isak Lindenauer (Isak Lindenauer, Antiques), Bill Lipsky (GLBT Historical Society), David Perry (DP&A, Inc.), Joseph Robinson (Conant Foundation), Tom Ryan (Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy), Gustavo Serina (Castro Benefit District), Mike Smith (AIDS / Breast Cancer Emergency Fund), Alan Thomsen ( Swedenborgian House of Studies at Pacific School of Religion.).
Advisory Committee: Stephen H. Adams (Merchants of Upper Market & Castro), Allan Baird (Community Activist), Cynthia Chang (Instructor in Chinese Perspectives in Holistic Health),
Aimee Forster (GLBT Historical Society), Rebecca Rolfe (LGBT Community Center), Andrea Shorter (Equality California), Theresa Sparks (San Francisco Human Rights Commission), Betty Sullivan (Bettyslist.com), Karen Sundheim (San Francisco Public Library), Christina Velasco (Principal, Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy).
Pro bono legal counsel provided by Ellen Leonard. Fiscal Agent: Castro Community Benefit District, Executive Director, Andrea Aiello
Individuals interested in contacting the Rainbow Honor Walk may do so by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail to Rainbow Honor Walk, 584 Castro Street, #113
San Francisco, California 94114; and on Facebook by searching “Rainbow Honor Walk” online at www.rainbowhonorwalk.org
Following are the first 20 names selected for inclusion on the Rainbow Honor Walk:
Jane Addams (1860-1935), Social worker, first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, 1931.
James Baldwin (1924-87), American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, civil rights activist.
George Choy (1960 — 93) : San Francisco activist for Asian and Pacific Islander youth and people with AIDS.
Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright, political activist.
Allen Ginsberg (1926-97), American poet. San Francisco Beat poet/ Free speech activist.
Keith Haring (1958-90), American artist and AIDS activist.
Harry Hay (1912-2002), English born writer, gay rights activist. Founder of The Mattachine Society, 1950.
Sylvester James (1947-88), American disco star, soul singer, San Francisco performer.
Christine Jorgensen (1926-89), Pre-eminent American transgender pioneer and advocate.
Frida Kahlo (1907-54), Mexican artist whose work has been celebrated as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition.
Del Martin (1921-2008), American feminist, gay rights activist. Founder Daughters of Bilitis.
Yukio Mishima (nee Kimitake Hiraoka, 1925-70), Japanese playwright, poet, actor, film director.
Bayard Rustin (1912-87), American civil rights leader.
Randy Shilts (1951-94), San Francisco journalist, biographer.
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), American novelist, essayist, playwright.
Alan Turing (1912-54), British scientist who broke the Nazi’s Enigma Code and father of the modern computer, cryptanalyst, logician, mathematician.
Tom Waddell (1937-87), American athlete, physician, founder of the Gay Games.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish playwright, poet, novelist, essayist.
Tennessee Williams (1911-83), American dramatist, poet, novelist.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), English novelist, essayist, publisher.