Dear SF Pride Board,
We urge you to re-instate Bradley Manning as Grand Marshall for this year’s Pride march. As a network of Jewish people committed to the end of all occupations and war and to human emancipation for all people – particularly those most impacted by oppression and repression – we commend Manning’s actions.
As a network committed to the historic struggles of queer and transgender people, we also ask the Board to remember the lives and courage of the fierce transgender men and women, the queens and dykes, many of whom were also people of color, who had the courage to stand up against the repression and violence against their communities by the police. This led up to the Stonewall uprisings in 1969, a significant foundation for the LGBTTQ movement and what Pride itself is built on.
We reject the unfounded claim that Manning’s actions endangered soldiers’ lives. We remind the Board that from 2003 to 2012, an estimated 180,000 Iraqis died as a result of combat and an estimated 650,000 Iraqis died of war- and sanction-related causes. More than 4,800 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since 2003. Certainly amongst all of those killed in Iraq as a result of the aggression of the U.S. and its allies, many were queer.
So, it is clear that Manning’s actions to publicize some of the most egregious abuses of the United States military, like those of so many anti-war activists across the globe, has the potential to save a great many lives. We hope that many more U.S. soldiers- queer and straight alike – will also find the courage to speak out or be whistleblowers, and take equivalent life-saving actions.
In resisting the violence of the U.S. government against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the senseless loss of U.S. military lives, Manning is following in the legacy and tradition on which Pride was built. It is this legacy that we would like to see queer communities and Pride remain true to and be accountable to. It is in this spirit that we believe re-instating Manning is the only principled option for the Board.
James Baldwin once wrote to Angela Davis while she sat in prison, “If they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.” If we accept the repression and silencing of any of us who speaks out against injustice, then we pave the road for all of us to be targeted.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss this further and will join with others organizing for Bradley Manning’s recognition at Pride and for his defense beyond that.
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Bay Area,
On behalf IJAN’s International Network