Update: Saturday’s Patriot Prayer Freedom Rally at Crissy Field has been canceled by its organizers. Instead, the group will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Saturday at Alamo Square Park in the Western Addition. The Loved Up counter-rally will be held as scheduled.
Neighbors and denizens of Dolores Park said Thursday that they are torn on how to effectively protest Saturday’s “Patriot Prayer Freedom Rally” at Crissy Field: show up at Crissy Field and potentially risk their safety, or dance at the counter-rally in Dolores Park.
Fears about the safety of peaceful protest were stoked after an attack left one woman dead during an Aug. 12 counter-protest of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Saturday’s Crissy Field “Freedom Rally” will begin at 2 p.m.
Several counter-protests are planned throughout the city Saturday, including the one at Dolores Park, called “Loved Up,” which begins at noon and asks people to “…join together to protest in the universal language of ‘shake yo ass.’”
“I might end up at Dolores,” said Craig Parton, 52, whose house overlooks the park. “But it feels like I wouldn’t be doing much work.”
Parton said the conflicts in Charlottesville, Virginia, hit him especially hard because he’s from Virginia, and he’s recently felt more compelled to demonstrate for racial justice. He feels risks should be taken for serious matters like the recently emboldened white supremacist movement. Dancing, he said, might not cut it.
“It’s like saying, ‘let’s eat cake to fight racism,’” he said. “Is that, like, a joke?”
Claire Rose, 22, was standing in front of the park talking to park-goers about social justice for Amnesty International. “[A dance counter-rally] could boost morale for people, but if it doesn’t have a clear message, then it might gloss over the urgency of what’s happening,” she said. “How will you know people aren’t just showing up for the dancing?”
Alina, 21, who declined to give her last name, said that she believes in peaceful counter-protest, but she’ll most likely be at Crissy Field. “Both are important,” she said. “Part of me is about not showing up because I don’t want to give those idiots attention, but it’s important to have ordinary people go [to Crissy Field] to put up a united front.”
Loved Up will join with another counter-event later in the afternoon at Harvey Milk Plaza, called “Come Together.” Both rallies will join forces and march toward Civic Center, where the “Peace, Love, and Understanding” concert — another counter-protest — will take place.
Talia Korbenbrot, 43, was sitting at the Dolores Park playground with a friend and her friend’s child. She likes the idea of a fun, peaceful counter-protest. “Having people show up without the potential for violence is great,” she said. “Get all the attention off the hate.”
Sidney and Sergio were sitting at a picnic table near the park entrance playing their guitars.
Sergio, who comes from Brazil, wondered why it takes a racist rally to incite action. “You find people who are racist as fuck everywhere,” he said. “Why aren’t we talking about that more?”
“If you have something where you have people dancing over here, juggling fire over there, giving a blow job over there — then what’s the point?” said Sidney. “If you have one, major voice everyone can hear, then maybe you can be effective.”
The two police officers who were patrolling the park weren’t allowed to say whether there would be increased police presence at the park on Saturday, but police spokesperson Officer Robert Rueca said that the police department will have a presence at the park and will be monitoring it closely.
“How large of presence will depend on what’s going on at the park, and what else is going on in the other parts of the city,” he said.
Counter-Rallies near Crissy Field
Non-violent Resistance to Fascism (San Francisco Queer Resistance)
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Marina Boulevard, between Scott and Fillmore Streets
March Against Hate to Crissy Field (San Francisco Against Hate)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Marina Boulevard, between Scott and Fillmore Streets
ResistSF Counter Rally (Resist SF)
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Crissy Field Beach
Anti-racist Rally (Brown Lives Matter)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., 490 Marina Blvd.
Peace, Love and Understanding
Noon to 5 p.m., Civic Center Plaza
Come Together (Juanita MORE!)
Noon to 5 p.m., Harvey Milk Plaza
Noon to 5 p.m., Dolores Park
Human Banner (Together We Will)
2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Ocean Beach Stairwells 3-6