Monday, February 17, 2014

One Billion Rising at SF City Hall

San Francisco City Hall was booked to capacity for Valentine's Day weddings, though some of the romantic quality of the day was probably lessened by preparations for a late afternoon rally protesting violence against women on the building's Polk Street stairway.

It was one of many worldwide locations for author Eve Ensler's One Billion Rising annual public relations campaign which started in 2012, where the one billion women who have been beaten or raped are meant to rise in the streets and dance.

This being San Francisco, protestors with other agendas showed up too including the messianic male circumcision foes above.

There has been some criticism in feminist circles decrying the fact that the organization is "neo-colonial," since it consists almost entirely of white, affluent women in positions of power lecturing poor colored women around the globe on how to behave when they are attacked by men.

The invariable advice is to report the malefactors to law enforcement and have them locked up, no matter what the circumstances.

The transgender community is not particularly pleased either, since they have been erased out of existence by the organization.

The emcee for the San Francisco event was Univision reporter Fabiola Kramsky above, who is also the wife of San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. In fact, an entire crew of politicians who tried to have Sheriff Mirkarimi thrown out of office for possible domestic violence last year were there to preen at the podium, including Mayor Ed Lee, Gascon, and SF Supervisor David Chiu who is running for State Assembly this year against David Campos. Chiu has recently jumped on the moral superiority bandwagon during his campaign, pointing to his vote for removing Mirkarimi while Campos did not.

Beverly Upton, above, who is the Executive Director of the taxpayer-funded San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium and Partners Ending Domestic Abuse, gave a speech so filled with cliches and buzzwords that it became unintentionally nonsensical. Meanwhile, the supposedly abused wife of Mirkarimi, Eliana Lopez, was producing Ensler's play, The Vagina Monologues, in Spanish at The Brava Theatre that evening while her husband was sponsoring One Billion Rising events at the San Francisco jails. The ironies and competing messages were dizzying.

Between the self-serving speeches, ethnic dance troupes would perform a few dance numbers, but the performing setup was ass backwards. The raised stage was reserved for speakers nobody really cared about seeing while the dancers performed on the sidewalk and could only be viewed by a handful of people in the front row or on a huge, grainy video screen that had been assembled at considerable expense in front of City Hall. The two-hour event felt like a slick but poorly manufactured spectacle that was trying to give off the vibe of spontaneity, and in a weird way it belittled the real issue of human violence.


janinsanfran said...

In the assembly district Chiu is contesting, Campos' vote to let Mirkarimi serve out his term as sheriff was the popular choice. Chiu is playing to amnesia. Of course, he's the developers' candidate, so he has to make things up while his funders pillage ...

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Jan:

Supervisor Chiu has always struck me as the poster boy for "craven" since he first came to power as President of the Board of Supervisors. Unfortunately, he's probably going to win the race against Campos because he IS the developers' candidate, and there are a lot of resources available to him.

Hattie said...

Well, the conflation of women's rights, domestic abuse, and a local race is beyond my ability to understand since I am not there to witness things with my own eyes.
However, there is a covert fight going on here that I am aware of. This will all be coming to the boiling point real soon, as various groups jockey for victim status and whatever public money is around.
I don't think these women are going to shut up and go away just because they remind people of unpleasant realities. Maybe they could use some help with production values, if that is a problem.

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Hattie: The production values were actually quite slick and not the problem. The event probably cost somewhere in the six figures to put on with all that A/V equipment and extra police to block off the street. The issue I have is not the cause of ending gender based violence, but the prescription of one-size-fits-all solutions that seem to always involve law enforcement who have their own gender violence issues.

In the case of San Francisco, The consortium of city-funded domestic violence nonprofits were co-opted by Mayor Lee a couple of years ago during his inquisition of Sheriff Mirkarimi in one of the more cynical displays of concern trolling I've ever seen, and it's been hard to take people like Beverly Upton seriously as anything other than an opportunist since that time.

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