Editor’s Note: We accept and encourage letters to the editor, and we curate our “letters” from emails, snail mail, Facebook, and comments on our website. However, we reserve the right to publish – or not to publish – any particular submission or comment, and if we do choose to publish, it does not mean that we align or agree with the writer’s position, intentions, assertions, or allegations.
The death of an ally
[Ref: “Southern California Shop Owner Murdered Over Pride Flag Dispute,” online at LGBTQSD.news at bit.ly/3PHHVpj]
I write to you today with a heavy heart, deeply moved by the senseless murder of Laura “Lauri” Ann Carleton, a vibrant and courageous small businesswoman, who fell victim to senseless violence due to her display of a Pride flag at her business. Now more than ever there is an urgent need for understanding, acceptance, unity, and an end to divisiveness and hate.
Lauri’s murder serves as a stark reminder that bigotry and intolerance still persist, even in our California communities. In the face of adversity and criticism for flying the flag, Lauri stood firm and she would say to friends, “This is the hill I’m going to die on. No one is going to make me take down that flag.”
Lauri’s tragic killing underscores the critical need to create an environment where no one should ever fear for their life when choosing to fly a Pride flag at their home or business. Everyone should have the freedom to express what they believe and who they love without fear of violence or retribution.
As a County, we must work toward a future where stories like Lauri Ann Carleton’s are relics of the past, where displays of love and support are celebrated, rather than met with violence. I stand united with Hillcrest that the Pride Flag is a form of protected freedom of speech, enshrined by the Constitution. I join Lauri as an ally in proclaiming, “It is the hill I will die on, too.”
–Amy Reichert, candidate for San Diego County Supervisor (District 4), via email
Community responds to the tile story
[Ref: “What happened to the tiles?,” Vol. 4, Issue 23, or online bit.ly/48AGSjI]
As I read this article, I was repeatedly reminded of stories of the construction of buildings, roads, etc., on top of African American graveyards across the country and the disappearance of their gravestones and the excuses for it in the name of “progress.” The insincerity of the CEO of San Diego’s LGBT Community Center seeps through the article like a blood stain. All she’s learned from law school and working with/for government agencies is fluency in Smilefuckese. Words like, “Honoring our rich history is an important part of our work to serve and support our LGBTQ community” are ashes in her mouth. Wrapping herself in the COVID Excuse Flag, echoing “we had to burn the village in order to save it,” trying to hide behind alleged “oohs” and “aahs” for what physically replaced the memorials to members of that community without whose financial contributions The Center and her job would not exist, and implicitly blaming the victims of her destruction for stupidly trusting The Center compounds her shame. If she genuinely cared, if she had any integrity, she would use some of the millions of dollars she poses for statues for, for raising to replace every tile. If not, she should resign. “Remember your roots, your history, and the forebears’ shoulders on which you stand.” –Marion Wright Edelman
–Michael Bedwell, via LGBTSDQ.news
I was one of the first 100 people to donate a tile/brick during the first donation campaign to help “build The New LGBT Community Center brick by brick,” under the leadership of Scott Fulkerson. I was a regular volunteer at The Center beginning in 1984 and at the time worked two part time jobs, living paycheck-to-paycheck scrimping and saving to buy a tile/brick, because I wanted to be a part of the legacy of helping build The (new) Center.
I was never contacted by anyone representing The Center or its board of directors when the decision was made to remove the tiles/bricks from the walls. There was lots of publicity around the renovation of The LGBT Community Center during COVID and the reopening, though nothing concerning the tile/brick removal. I only learned about this happening when contacted by Benny Cartwright concerning the article he was writing.
It deeply saddens me that many of our family who donated tiles/bricks, especially the first 100, 20+ years ago have passed away. Many died from AIDS and/or old age, for some living those tiles are the only thing that was left of their memory, and that history with The Center has been discarded and is now lost. I believe The Center board of directors and CEO are responsible to take action and correct the horrible destruction of our community history. Please replace every single tile/brick that was removed and put them in a place of honor at The Center where everyone can view them.
My personal brick read:
Wendy Sue B
I needed my name to be remembered by our community long after I have passed away. I chose these words carefully, as a subtle sign to those of non-Christian faith, that all faith and spirituality are welcome at The LGBT Community Center. As a Lesbian, Jewish, Wiccan, Dianic Pagan, it was important to me that we all felt blessed, safe, equal and represented in some small way. This Spiritual Blessing/Prayer/Intention that was given has been removed and needs to be replaced by those who decided to destroy it/them. For every tile/brick that was donated, there is an individual reason and memory behind its donation, that are now disrespected by those who decided to remove them from The Center.
For those who can no longer speak …
–Wendy Sue Biegelsein, via LGBTQSD.news
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