Has the SF Human Rights Commission declared the Black Community Dead?
As an admitted critic of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, I can understand people reading bias in between the lines of my well-documented criticism of this charter commission.
However, when I received a press release from the Human Rights Commission the other day, it further validated my claim that this commission has been hi-jacked by not only the mayor’s office but almost anything with the acronym LGBT attached.
The boastful HRC press release begins: “The San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC) announced today three grant opportunities totaling $510,000 for LGBTQI support services in San Francisco.” What the HRC announcement did not say is that, the Black community should expect to receive zero opportunity grant dollars from this commission.
“Equality for All” in San Francisco is a gay statement. So it is no surprise to see it on the front of San Francisco MUNI buses. But it is not a true statement, especially if one looks at the last forty-five years of San Francisco history.
In 1970, there were an estimated one hundred thousand gay and one hundred thousand Black residents in the city. Today, it is estimated that there are more than 110,000 homosexuals living in San Francisco and only 47,000 Blacks. Keep in mind that San Francisco suffered the loss of more than 30,000 gay residents to the AIDS crisis since it began in the early part of the 1980s.
Mayor Ed Lee is the one person who has been at the center of a lot of the disrespect coming from the HRC. Beginning in 1991, Lee a civil rights lawyer was the HRC executive director. And many from the Black community will swear that Blacks have not enjoyed one year of progress from this commission from that day to this… Meanwhile, the LGBT community has grown with the help of many city politicians, including Lee. How could this occur? These disturbing figures are the result of SF City Hall for decades having had no real respect for the SF Black community.
The HRC press release went on to state: “The grant opportunities include $200,000 for transgender coalition building and organizational support services; $160,000 for violence prevention and intervention services for LGBTQI survivors of violence; and $150,000 for leadership development and legal/support services for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated transgender persons.”
It continues, “These grant opportunities build on the HRC’s recent work with San Francisco’s LGBTQI communities. In 2014, the HRC partnered with the SF LGBT Center to commission a first-of-its-kind needs assessment report on LGBTQI violence prevention in San Francisco. The report found that high proportions of LGBTQI community members, and particularly transgender persons and transgender persons of color, experience physical violence, sexual violence, and harassment.”
In 2015 there was one transgender murdered in the Bayview. For comparison, there have been at least on average 2 Bayview District homicides per month in 2015. Some could reasonably suggest that this is not a fair comparison in rejecting a needs assessment. Normally I would agree. But when sounding the alarm of need by the SF LGBT Center led survey, I simply question why the HRC is not willing to offer $510,000.00 in grant opportunities to the Black community?
On the HRC website is a beautiful looking document called the “2009 Black Out-migration report.” Many including myself, have criticized its recommendations. However, the one thing that is clear is that there is no $510,000.00 in grant opportunities offered based on its findings. And surely, there was no half a million dollars invested by any city agency into the report.
What is most disturbing about this press release is not the fact that the current director of the HRC Theresa Sparks; a transgender was looking out for people whom she knows are victims of a higher levels of discrimination and hatred solely due to their sexual orientation. It is not more disturbing because this same Sparks cost city tax payers $210,000.00 when she and the city were successfully sued for discriminating against Thomas Willis, a former Black male staffer for simply being heterosexual. Even when I go onto the HRC website and see all the hollow tributes to Blacks in the fight for civil rights, I simply shake my head. A pathetic attempt to hide the fact that no one is really running a true human rights commission in San Francisco.
As a Black homosexual myself, I am most disturbed and disappointed that a gay Black lawyer David Miree, working for the HRC sent me this press release. Mr. Miree is the “Social Justice/Policy Analyst & Media Relations” person for the commission. Ringing in my ears is what he told me during an hour long late 2013 phone conversation. In a matter of fact tone, Mr. Miree said that the Human Rights Commission had, “Flat lined” on ideas to help the SF Black community.
If the SF Human Rights Commission, which was first formed in 1964 to fight discrimination against SF Blacks at the time has in deed flat lined (given up) on the Black community, I suggest it also change its name: The San Francisco Gay Cause Commission.