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Pink Saturday Torch Procession from Oakland to San Francisco to Illuminate The Pink Triangle

June 24, 2020 LGBT, Visit California No Comments

On Saturday June 27t at 9:00 p.m. (PST), an historic community-led effort will take place to Illuminate The Pink Triangle, Patrick Carney’s iconic public art installation celebrating its 25th anniversary atop Twin Peaks, with 2,700 LED nodes of pink light.

For the past 24 years, hundreds of volunteers have gathered near the top of Twin Peaks to install The Pink Triangle. Led by founder and longtime LGBTQ activist Patrick Carney, this gigantic hillside installation can be seen from across the San Francisco Bay every Pride Weekend. This year on Saturday, June 27, to honor the Pink Triangle’s 25th anniversary — which coincides with the 50th anniversary of San Francisco Pride — Carney and Illuminate will unveil the work of art on view for two weeks creating a vibrant acre of light and revealing a mesmerizing, elegant civic focal point.

In advance of the lighting of The Pink Triangle, a multi-city Pink Torch Procession will take place in Oakland and San Francisco, featuring Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf at the start of the Pink Torch Procession and San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed who will welcome the torch procession as it culminates in San Francisco at the base of Twin Peaks and then light The Pink Triangle. Beginning in Oakland, with participating partners Oakland Pride and Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, the procession will circle Lake Merritt, passing the LGBTQ Community Center, the location of the infamous BBQ Becky, and a historic Black Panther site. The torch will then make its way across the Bay Bridge as the procession builds, to the Ferry building where it will proceed up Market Street to Twin Peaks.

To light the path towards the Illumination of The Pink Triangle, numerous community notables will be participating in the Pink Torch Procession, including representatives from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Donna Sachet, First Lady of the Castro and 30th Absolute Empress of San Francisco, alongside her good friend, activist, and former SF Pride President Gary Virginia, as well as Joe Hawkins, Founder of Oakland Pride and CEO of Oakland LGBTQ Center Center. Torchbearers will be escorted by socially-distanced volunteers and several members of Bikes on Dykes. Torchbearers will carry the iconic pink torch created and donated by Burning Man artists Josh Zubkoff and Srikanth Guttikonda, of the Looking Up Arts Foundation.

“Pride is a gift we pass down from generation to generation, as is the responsibility to fight for our rights. We want this torch to symbolize both, and we hope it becomes a new tradition,” Cody Smith, cofounder of Looking Up Arts Foundation.

“2020 is the perfect year to Illuminate The Pink Triangle for many reasons. In addition to celebrating the 25th anniversary of this San Francisco tradition and the 50th anniversary of San Francisco Pride, it gives everyone who sees it an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the symbol and see it as a guiding light for the future,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel. “This year has already had more than its share of dark times. This new light art installation and the torch procession leading up to it symbolize the strength of our diversity and remind us of what’s possible when we all work together to overcome our challenges.”

When: Pink Saturday, June 27, 2020

Oakland 2:00-4:30 pm Lake Merritt to Bay Bridge
San Francisco 6:00-8:30 pm Ferry Building to Twin Peaks
Global Grand Lighting: Illuminate The Pink Triangle 9:00 pm

The Pink Triangle, long at the center of the city’s annual SF Pride celebration, is now embraced as a beloved beacon of hope and inclusion. The milestone effort to Illuminate the Pink Triangle – making it more vibrant than ever – was made possible through a collaborative effort between Carney and Illuminate, the nonprofit behind the Bay Lights, as well as a public GoFundMe campaign currently underway to raise $85,000. Contributions to the project are 100-percent tax-deductible and go toward The Pink Triangle account at SF Pride, which has long been the project’s fiscal sponsor.

“We couldn’t be happier that The Pink Triangle is celebrating its 25th anniversary this way,” says Fred Lopez, Executive Director of SF Pride. “I’m very proud to continue our longstanding relationship with San Francisco’s most prominent symbol of queer resilience. Like Pride, The Pink Triangle encourages us to choose compassion over fear.”

An annual estimated one million participants will not be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pride in San Francisco this year, however through the effort to Illuminate The Pink Triangle, the city – and the world – will be able to experience the Global Grand Lighting together when it officially goes live on Saturday, June 27, 2020, the evening before Pride Sunday.

“Our City has lived through a modern-day pandemic, demonstrating great care and compassion,” says Ben Davis, Founder and CEO of Illuminate. “We have an important lesson to share now. Lighting The Pink Triangle is an opportunity to honor history, inform the present, and shape a brighter, more equitable future.”

“Part of commemorating any Pride Weekend is remembering where we have been,” Patrick Carney, the creator of The Pink Triangle, says. “The Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks is a highly visible, yet silent reminder of inhumanity. It recalls one of the darkest chapters of human history, yet it has been reclaimed, to become a powerful symbol of hope, inclusion, love and resiliency.”

The Pink Triangle will remain illuminated through July 10, 2020.


It seems the lessons of the Holocaust and the Pink Triangle have been lost on many. Because “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” we continue to display The Pink Triangle atop Twin Peaks. It is important to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust victims and to remind everyone of the consequences of unchecked hatred.

The Pink Triangle display is also intended as an instrument to initiate discourse about hate crimes. We want to help prevent others from experiencing the results of hatred that Matthew Shepard, Allen Schindler, Brandon Teena, and countless others have been subjected to. If we can help prevent additional crimes like those committed against them, we will have been successful in our attempt to inform the public.

First year of the Pink Triangle: 1996
Size: almost 200 feet in diameter, covering approximately one acre
Personnel: in previous years, 300 volunteers
Illuminated Pink Triangle: 2,700 LED nodes, 43 rows of lights
Measurements: 100 feet along top, 200 feet along sides
2020 Global Grand Lighting: Saturday, June 27 at 9 pm at San Francisco’s Twin Peaks
Social media hashtag: #ThePinkTriangle


Established in 2011, in conjunction with the creation of The Bay Lights
Mission: “Illuminate rallies large groups of people together to create impossible works of public art that, through awe, free humanity’s better nature.”
Notable Bay Area projects: the Bay Lights, Harvey’s Halo, Conservatory of Flowers, Grace Light at Grace Cathedral


Established: 1970 as “Gay Freedom Day”
Executive Director: Fred Lopez
#Pride50 Celebration information:


The artists behind the torch, Josh Zubikoff and Srikanth Guttikonda, are no novices in LGBT art, as they were also behind Rainbow Bridge, a 75 foot-long, walkable sculpture built of 15,000 pounds of steel and covered in over 25,000 addressable LEDs. Together, the duo runs Looking Up Arts Foundation, a San Francisco nonprofit dedicated to making public art while fostering a community around it.

Team: Looking Up Arts, Daniel Macchiarini, and volunteers
Materials: recycled aluminum, resin, 3D printed bioplastic
Technology: battery powered with programmable LEDs (estimate 300) and spatial sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer)
Dimensions: 2 feet long, 5 inches wide, 2 feet high
Project link:


The pink triangle was used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify and shame homosexuals. This symbol, which was used to label and shame, has been embraced by the gay community as a symbol of pride.

In the 1930s and 1940s there was nothing celebratory about the pink triangle. Gays were forced to wear the pink triangle on their breast pockets in the concentration camps to identify them as homosexual to set them apart from other prisoners.

Triangles of various colors were used to identify each category of “undesirable”: yellow for Jews, brown of Gypsies, red for political prisoners, green for criminals, black for anti-socials, purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses, blue for immigrants, and pink for homosexuals.

The pink triangles were slightly larger than the other colored triangles so that guards could identify them from a distance. It is said that those who wore the pink triangles were singled out by the guards to receive the harshest treatment, and when the guards were finished with them, some of the other inmates would harm them as well.

At the end of the war, when the concentration camps were finally liberated, virtually all of the prisoners were released except those who wore the pink triangle. Many of those with a pink triangle on their pocket were put back in prison and their nightmare continued.

One of the groups that was targeted for extermination by the Nazis continues to be under attack to this day, not just verbally but physically, all over the world: homosexuals. The fact that gays were put in German concentration camps is not known by many. The stories of the survivors reveal an unimaginable cruelty and suffering. It is the same kind of senseless, irrational hatred that still haunts Gays, Jews, Blacks, and other minorities today. The Taliban in Afghanistan required non-Muslims to wear identifying badges on their clothing, just as the Nazis required their “undesirables” to wear identifying logos so long ago. History repeats itself.

The list of systematic, deliberate, and well-orchestrated exterminations is a long one. The Armenian Genocide of 1915 – 1918 in the Ottoman Turkish Empire, the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia and the Sudan, and numerous other genocidal campaigns are testament of the world’s complacency.

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