Connect with us

Gay Pride: Embroiled In Flag Flap Space Needle Finds Charitable Solution

Published

on

Last year, in an historic tribute to gay pride month, Seattle’s iconic Space Needle flew the gay pride flag. This year they declined — and met extreme disappointment and anger. So, they came up with a unique solution. Guest author and Seattle-area resident Stuart Wilber explains.

 

THE RAINBOW FLAG

Last year the Rainbow Flag flew atop the Space Needle on Pride weekend for the first time. It was a significant moment for Seattle, home to what is said to be the second-largest LGBT community in the country. People literally wept, posed for photos with the be-rainbowed Space Needle in the background, and sent hundreds of thank you messages to the corporation that owns it.  And of course, the expected complaints about special treatment for ‘The Gays’ also emerged.

 

THAT WAS LAST YEAR

On June 3, word got out that Seattle Out & Proud (SO&P), the organization responsible for the annual Pride Parade, had accepted the flag to use instead of it being flown atop the Needle. Within minutes a polite petition thanking the Space Needle Corporation (SNC) for flying the flag last year and asking them to re-consider their decision to not fly it again was initiated on change.org, and in eleven days, over 9700 people signed it and members of the City Council and columnists in both the alternative and mainstream media joined the clamor to fly the rainbow flag.

After all, when you see photos of the Eiffel Tower you think Paris, when you see the Needle you think Seattle. The Rainbow Flag flying on our iconic structure was a statement of inclusion and welcome. Not flying it seemed a rejection as hurtful as unrequited love or being turned down by a cutie at last call – it stung!

I confess, I was part of the kerfuffle – I e-mailed, I posted, I re-posted, I tweeted and re-tweeted, I harangued friends and strangers, activists and neighbors to join the fray and sign the petition. For the most part the reaction I received was positive and I am responsible for getting more than a few of those 9700 signatures. But I was also confronted by some stinging remarks. After all, marriage equality, DADT, ENDA, homeless LGBT youth and transgender bashing, not to mention the economy, famine and war, are more important than a piece of colored cloth flying on a corporate structure.

Then the Seattle Gay News (SGN) upped the ante by calling on all local businesses to fly the Pride Flag.  Healio, a local café, offered free pride flags to any business that would fly one. A flag-sewing party was proposed to take place at a counter-protest of the Westboro Church, which will be protesting the Pride Picnic. The image of drag queens dressed as Betsy Ross sewing strips of brightly colored cloth while the Phelps Gang shouts “God Hates Fags!” made it into my dreams last night.

 

A PR NIGHTMARE

Now the Space Needle Corporation had a PR nightmare on their hands. Seattle Gay News reported the Space Needle had committed “to sponsoring a fundraiser on-site in the fall to benefit the community and create the program that would take the flag on tour and use it as an education and inspirational message.”  SO&P had announced the giant flag would be leading the Pride Parade carried by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Abbey of St. Joan who said in a statement to the press, “we are delighted and honored” to march with the flag. “As we carry this beacon of hope through downtown Seattle, we will perpetuate our mission to support and represent our community in all its magnificent glory. The past and future of a particular flag we carry is of less import to us than ensuring that this powerful symbol is present on the parade route.” Even I in my enthusiasm to get that flag atop the Needle know better than to try to take it away from the Sisters.

 

A CORPORATE SOLUTION

SNC came up with a solution that allows the Sisters to carry the flag, SO&P to have their fundraiser and Seattle to see the Pride Flag fly again. Their press release states, “In response to a ground swell of support requesting the Rainbow Flag being raised again on Seattle Pride Weekend, the Space Needle has issued an exciting new fundraising challenge. If the community can raise $50,000 for 4 local charities, the Space Needle will raise the Rainbow Flag on Sunday of Seattle Pride weekend in Seattle. The Space Needle will also kick off the challenge with an inaugural donation of $5000.00.”

“According to Jeff Wright, Chairman of Space Needle LLC, ‘We want to harness the enthusiasm that has built up to raise the flag for the encore performance. Our entire community gets involved in whatever issue is at hand and we think that is what makes us so strong. This challenge can reap great benefits for these worthwhile organizations.’

Four charities have been selected to be the recipients of the fundraising challenge. Greater Seattle Business Association Scholarship Program, Lambda Legal, It Gets Better for The Trevor Project, and Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter for women and children. The $50,000 will be divided equally between the four organizations, SNC states.

 

COMMUNITY REACTION

For those not familiar with Seattle organizations, The GSBA Scholarship Program supports LGBTA students. Often such students, most belonging to a marginalized group, had no family support or financial aid from more traditional sources. Mary’s Place is a shelter that, unlike most, is LGBT welcoming and inclusive. All are worthy causes – ones I personally support. And I believe the challenge will probably be met.

Comments on the Space Needle Face Book page are mixed — most are hostile. Protests are being threatened. What was a PR Nightmare has become a PR catastrophe. Why didn’t SNC just agree to fly the flag and issue the challenge? There should have been ropes attached to that flag, not strings. I still hope they will change their corporate mind.

 

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

I have been asked why it matters so much if the rainbow flag flies over the Space Needle again this year. My partner reminded me that our domestic partnership is only recognized in a few states and our marriage only in Canada and scolded me, saying I had more important issues to address. Some activist friends complained I should be devoting my time lobbying my senators and representatives as if I couldn’t multi-task. Some told me that the Space Needle is privately owned so the decision to fly the flag is a corporate one and their decision should be respected. But a gift once given becomes more precious when it is taken away.

 

ANOTHER KIND OF ACTIVISM – GENTLE PERSUASION

New media has transformed our ability to make things happen. With just a few clicks of a mouse we can sign a petition, post it to our Facebook page, tweet it and send our message to multiple recipients. The petition to the SNC was appreciative and polite. Some said it was too polite.

But when the Pride Flag flies on June 26 – there is no doubt in my mind that it will – more than 9700 people will see their activism rewarded. And emboldened by this success, they may again sign a petition with a few clicks of a mouse, or call their representatives or even take to the streets when the cause warrants it.

Those of us who live in Seattle and Washington State are fortunate — many of our representatives are supportive of our equality. And when we saw that rainbow flag flying over the iconic Needle, we for a brief time felt included and welcomed — a feeling many of us as LGBTQI folk never get to experience. Many of our youth are homeless and have no access to computers. Others watch the “It Gets Better” videos and wonder, “when?”

Our President and our Governor, the King County Council, the Seattle City Council and our Mayor again proclaim Gay Pride. The flag that flew over the Space Needle last year will lead the parade on June 26. But June 27, no one will remember that flag or those proclamations, but thousands would remember the disappointment of not seeing it fly over the Needle.

This year, when that flag flies over our Needle, everyone who sees it will know that it has already gotten a little better.

 

(image)

Stuart Wilber is a Seattle activist who skipped high school to watch the McCarthy-Army Hearings. Having seen it get better and worse and better again over the years, he continues to hope he will experience equality in his lifetime. The Space Needle Challenge can be accessed at Pride Needle.

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

OPINION

‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

Published

on

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was strongly criticized by two Democratic Congressmen after the Georgia Republican’s remarks about “Ukrainian Nazis” and her attempts to paint Ukrainians as Nazis.

“Stop bringing up Nazis and Hitler,” U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) urged, after Greene’s remarks suggesting there is a large Nazi problem in Ukraine, during a House Oversight Committee hearing. “The only people who know about Nazis and Hitler are the 10 million people and their families who lost their loved ones, generations of people who were wiped out. It is enough of this disgusting behavior, using Nazis as propaganda. You want to talk about Nazis, get yourself over to the Holocaust Museum. You go see what Nazis did. It’s despicable that we use that and we allow it and we sit here like somehow it’s regular.”

Moskowitz began by telling the Committee his “grandparents escaped the Holocaust.”

“So my grandmother was part of the Kindertransport out of Germany. Her parents were killed in Auschwitz. My grandfather, her husband escaped Poland, from the pogroms,” he continued.

READ MORE: ‘Used by the Russians’: Moskowitz Mocks Comer’s Biden Impeachment Failure

“There are no concentration camps in Ukraine. They’re not taking babies and shooting them in the air ’cause they’re Jewish. There’s no gas chambers. There’s no ovens. They’re not railing people in, they’re not ripping gold out of people’s mouth. They’re not taking stuff out of their home. They’re not trying to erase a people. They’re Ukrainians.”

Greene’s remarks over the weekend had caused anger.

“It’s antisemitic to make Israeli aid contingent on funding Ukrainian Nazis,” Congresswoman Greene declared Sunday from her official government social media account, as legislation to support Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan moved to the top of Speaker Mike Johnson’s priority list in the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel. Her implication appeared to be Ukrainians are Nazis – a Putin talking point.

Greene on Wednesday spent several minutes again implying there are many Nazis in Ukraine, as she was refuted by a top scholar, Yale professor of history Timothy Snyder. Dr. Snyder is the author of a dozen books, including two on Nazis and the Holocaust, and is an expert on the Holocaust, Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and serves on the Council on Foreign Relations.

Responding to Greene’s remarks, Snyder told the lawmakers, “no far-right party has ever crossed three percent” in a Ukrainian election.

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Greene was also criticized by U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), who called her out for her “hypocrisy” and reminded her that in 2022 she “spoke at event led by white supremacists.”

That event was hosted by white supremacist Nick Fuentes:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

Continue Reading

News

‘Used by the Russians’: Moskowitz Mocks Comer’s Biden Impeachment Failure

Published

on

After Democratic House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin blasted Republican Chairman Jim Comer, declaring “somebody needs therapy here” during a heated verbal brawl Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) mockingly urged committee members to come together to “begin Comer’s therapy session.”

In a viral three-minute walkthrough of the discredited far-right wing chairman’s efforts, including making false claims and use, as Moskowitz noted, Russian disinformation to try to build a case against President Joe Biden, the Florida Democrat appeared to put the final nail in the impeachment coffin.

Moskowitz told the committee members Chairman Comer has to “face the fact that he was taken by the Russians,” and “was used by the Russians.” He also noted the committee has “already lost” Comer “to Russian propaganda.”

“I mean, we got to build a forcefield around the Chairman to make sure we don’t lose him to Chinese propaganda as well.”

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

Moskowitz made clear, through his well-known wit, that Comer “no longer has impeachment” as an option to use against President Biden.

The video has gone viral, with over 175,000 views in just over one hour.

Read the transcript of Moskowitz’s remarks and watch the video below or at this link.

“Let me start by saying, obviously Chairman Comer’s not here, but I think in light of what we witnessed earlier, I think it’s important that together as a committee that we begin, Chairman Comer’s therapy session, right. You know, a member of the other side wanted to confirm what the title of the hearing was, right, Chinese propaganda. Well, we know the title of the hearing certainly isn’t about impeachment anymore. And Chairman Comer has suffered tremendous loss, and we all know in our life, what it’s like to suffer tremendous loss. There’s all sorts of different stages of grief and that’s the loss obviously, of his of his impeachment hearing. And everyone deals with that in different ways and sometimes it takes time to grieve and struggle and and fill that hole that void that now exists now that he no longer has impeachment.”

“The only way we as a committee are going to help Chairman Comer get better is we have to get to the root cause. Right? So for today’s therapy session, okay, I want to talk about denial. Right? The denial that the impeachment hearings are over, and the denial, obviously, that he started with the 1023 form, which was Russian disinformation. And so, you know, Chairman Comer’s psychology teaches us that, you know, someone might be like him, using denial as a defense mechanism. And signs include that you refuse to talk about the problem. You find ways to justify your behavior, you blame other people or outside forces for causing the problem. You persist in your behavior by consequences. You promise to address the problem, maybe in the future, or you avoid thinking about the problem. And so in addition to these signs that Chairman comer has been displaying, as we saw at the beginning, he also might be feeling hopeless or helpless.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

“I just want the chairman to know that we’re pulling for him. We really we really are. I know, I know. It’s been hard to become someone who was used by the Russians. But the good news is, is that he’s this hearing today on Chinese propaganda, because we’ve already lost him to Russian propaganda. I mean, we got to build a forcefield around the chairman to make sure we don’t lose him to Chinese propaganda, as well.”

“In fact, you can see behind me, these are quotes from the chairman, Chairman Comer. Every single solitary time and there are hundreds more that he went on TV in interviews and talked about this 1023 form, which was all Russian disinformation. But we gotta make the Chairman understand that it’s going to be okay. We will get him through this, but he’s got to recognize, gotta recognize that denial is not just a river in Egypt. He’s gonna have to face the fact that he was taken by the Russians.”

Continue Reading

OPINION

‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

Published

on

The media’s ability to shape public opinion is well-documented, and by the end of the second day of the first criminal trial in history of a former U.S. president critics are slamming the content, framing, and focus of mainstream media organizations. The biggest concerns: refusing to cover the former president’s apparent inability to stay awake in court, too much identifying information of potential and chosen jurors, and even subtle descriptions that can be used to feed into false perceptions the trial is “unfair” or, as the ex-president likes to say, a “scam.”

Overnight, CNN’s Oliver Darcy’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter blasted mainstream media outlets that “strangely show little interest in reporting on Donald Trump’s courtroom naps.”

“Imagine, for a moment, if President Joe Biden were to be caught openly sleeping at an important hearing,” Darcy posits. Trump was caught “nodding” off repeatedly several times over the first two days of trial (there is not trial Wednesdays). “Then imagine it were to occur at another important hearing the next day. Not only would right-wing media outlets like Fox News run wild with coverage questioning his fitness for office, mainstream news organizations would no doubt also treat the snooze fest as a serious news story. But, for some unknown reason, Donald Trump falling asleep at his historic criminal trial in New York (as he apparently did, again, on Tuesday) has been met with a rather muted response.”

READ MORE: SCOTUS Justices Appear to Want to Toss Obstruction Charges Against Some J6 Defendants: Experts

Noting, “It’s important,” Darcy asks, “why has much of the press fallen asleep at the wheel?” and serves up some examples – or lack thereof.

“ABC News and NBC News didn’t even bother mentioning it on their evening newscasts and many major outlets haven’t even filed straight stories on it. To be frank, if not for The NYT’s Maggie Haberman reporting on the matter Tuesday, it’s unclear whether the public — which is relying on news organizations to be its eyes and ears in the courtroom, given cameras are barred — would know about it.”

“It’s all the more bizarre given that Trump has made attacking ‘sleepy Joe’ a central tenet of his campaign, framing the president as lacking the stamina to serve in the nation’s highest office. Which is to say, the fact that Trump is the one apparently unable to stay awake in his own criminal trial isn’t a trivial story.”

Jennifer Schulze, a media critic who was a Chicago Sun-Times executive producer, WGN news director, and adjunct college professor of journalism, pointing to Darcy’s criticism, calls it “a big journalism fail.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

The ex-president is facing 34 felony counts for falsification of business records when he paid hush money to an adult film actress then allegedly tried to cover it up, which some say is election interference.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan is overseeing the Trump trial, and ordered the identities of all jurors and prospective jurors to remain anonymous. Trump has a proven track record of alleged attempts to intimidate witnesses, judges, prosecutors, and others involved in his trials.

Some are concerned the media went too far in posting and publishing some possibly identifying information internet sleuths could use to piece together their names.

“There is seriously far, far too much identifying information about prospective jurors, several of whom are now empaneled, coming out in the press,” warned attorney and author Luppe B. Luppen.

Here’s how Fox News host Jesse Watters used that information to target one empaneled juror, while attempting to discredit the trial.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity went after “Juror Number One,” who is the foreperson.

It is not just Fox News targeting jurors.

Even The New York Times’ coverage of jurors drew the ire of critics.

READ MORE: ‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

Here’s how The Times’ Jonah Bromwich reported on the jury foreperson:

“The foreperson who was just selected — that’s juror one, the de facto leader of the group who will likely help steer deliberations — works in sales and enjoys the outdoors. He is originally from Ireland, but will help decide the former American president’s fate.”

University of Wisconsin—Madison professor of political science, who has a Ph.D. in Government, criticized the Times’ reporting.

“100% certain if the foreperson were native born, they would not have written this sentence and used the formulation of ‘former president’ subtly implying the foreperson from Ireland is somehow not a real American.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.