‘UCSF United with Love’: Hundreds March in the 2016 San Francisco Pride Parade

By Mike Billings

Donning UC San Francisco T-shirts and Mardi Gras beads, a colorful contingent marched last weekend to represent and support the LGBT community in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

The San Francisco Pride Parade drew a festive crowd of more than 200 people from UCSF, marching alongside a UCSF shuttle and handing out sunglasses to spectators. Homemade signs such as “UCSF United w/ Love” reflected the spirit of the day, to overcome the hatred that spawned the shooting the killed 49 people and injured dozens more in Orlando.

“The tragedy in Orlando was a terrible, terrible act that will be remembered for the ages,” medical student Aaron Louie said. “But it has also galvanized entire institutions, entire communities, and entire nations to join hands, defend peace, and communicate that hatred, ignorance, and fear has no place in this world.”

The official theme of the 46th annual Pride Celebration was “For Racial and Economic Justice.” The celebration has historically been a time to celebrate accomplishments in the LGBT community but also for contemplation, said Sue Forstat, co-chair of the Chancellor's Committee on LGBT Issues.

“It is a touch point for reflection for the history as well as what still needs to happen,” she said.

The Pride Parade was the most recent event that brought UCSF together in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting. Several medical students at UCSF organized a two-hour forum called “Stay Safe, Stay Strong.” The forum provided a space for the UCSF community to gather to reflect and talk about their thoughts and roles as healers. The June 14 event included a reading of the names of those slain in Orlando and a moment of silence.

UCSF’s LGBT End of the Year Celebration on June 16 also dedicated part of the program to the Orlando victims, and UCSF students, including Joanna Jacobs, organized a march from the Parnassus campus to the Castro on June 24, which was the Friday that kicks off the Pride Celebration weekend.

“At UCSF, colleagues, students and faculty members were able to find support through the events,” said Klint Jaramillo, director of the UCSF LGBT Resource Center. “This was a crucial moment where the UCSF community was able to connect to discuss issues related to homophobia, transphobia, gun violence, Islamophobia and racism.”

For more campus news and resources, visit Pulse of UCSF.