Marred by past violence, Pride Weekend's popular Pink Saturday event will get a fresh start thanks to the SF LGBT Center.
The SF LGBT Center will take over organizational responsibility for the Castro District street party, to be held this year on June 27. San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner, who represents the Castro, told The Bay Area Reporter that the nonprofit was the only group the city approached for the job.
First conceived in 1995, Pink Saturday initially coincided with an international AIDS conference in San Francisco that brought together HIV activists and the queer community.
But the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who produced the event since its inception 20 years ago, decided not to file a permit to host it this year, citing increasing acts of violence and hate crimes against party revelers over the past several years.
SFGate reported that 19-year-old Stephen Powell died after being shot at the event in 2010. In 2013, a woman was robbed and attacked by multiple men, and a group including a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were physically attacked and called homophobic slurs just last year.
"It's no good anymore," Dana Van Iquity, a Sisters member, told NBC Bay Area. "So we don't want the responsibility of people being beat up and shot at and harassed. People come here specifically to attack queers."
The Bay Area Reporter noted that the SF LGBT Center is looking into more food, live music and entertainment options this year. It will also increase the security presence and end the party at 8 p.m., which is earlier than in past years, as ways to encourage a more peaceful event.