Friends and family of the late Gilbert Baker will hold an activist march and rally against LGBTQ discrimination and bigotry in memory of the world-renowned artist who created The Rainbow Flag, the international symbol of LGBTQ pride and liberation. Baker, a lifelong LGBTQ and social justice activist, died suddenly March 31 in his Manhattan home. He was 65.
Gilbert Baker Memorial March and Rally FlyerThe political march and rally “Raise the Rainbow!” will take place, appropriately, on Flag Day, which is Wednesday, June 14, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. “Raise the Rainbow!” is a public event open to all. Attendees are invited to bring their own rainbow-themed banners, art pieces and protest signs.
The event begins at 6:00 PM with a rally at the Stonewall Inn, the bar whose 1969 riots sparked the modern LGBTQ movement. Stonewall is located at 53 Christopher Street. Speakers will celebrate the life, art and radical legacy of Gilbert Baker through personal recollections, resistance speeches, and Baker’s own political speeches. At 8:00 PM, participants will march the length of Christopher Street to Christopher Street Pier, carrying banners created by Gilbert Baker. They will raise a Rainbow Flag and call for a rededication to progressive and radical activism, completing the tribute at 9:00 PM.
“Gilbert Baker belonged to all of us, and his sudden passing has been a shocking loss to millions across the world,” said event co-organizer and longtime friend Charley Beal. “There is no better way to honor his work and his memory than to hold this march and protest, to fight the LGBTQ oppression of Donald Trump’s administration. We must continue Gilbert’s work because the struggle for LGBTQ liberation is not over.”
The Facebook page for the event is: www.facebook.com/GilbertBakerMemorial
The website for Gilbert Baker is: gilbertbaker.com
The event will be produced by Academy Award-winning producer and activist Bruce Cohen, whose credits include the film “Milk” which featured Gilbert Baker’s flags and banners, and the ABC miniseries “When We Rise,” which includes Baker as a character and tells the story of the creation of the flag.
A celebration of Gilbert Baker in San Francisco, his home for decades and the site of the creation of the Rainbow Flag in 1978, will happen Thursday, June 8, at 7:00pm at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. People globally are urged to hold their own protests and memorials.
Baker was born in Chanute, Kansas, on June 2, 1951. He served in the US Army 1970-1972, which stationed him in San Francisco just at the start of the gay liberation movement. After being honorably discharged, Baker stayed in San Francisco and taught himself to sew. He began creating flags for civic and state events, most notably the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
In 1994 Baker created a mile-long Rainbow Flag for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot 1969 in New York City. Carried by 5,000 people, it was the world’s largest flag before Baker broke his own record in 2003 with a new flag created for Key West Pride that extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. Baker also created a series of Rainbow Flag-inspired paintings for galleries and museums internationally. The Rainbow Flag is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Most recently, Baker completed a new nine-color Rainbow Flag, adding a lavender stripe for diversity.
Gilbert Baker leaves behind mother Patricia Baker and sister Ardonna Baker Cook.