SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco’s Pink Saturday, the annual the street party held on the eve of the LGBT Pride Celebration in the Castro District, has has been canceled due safety and security concerns, the event’s hosts said.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence–the self-described order of queer, radical nuns–announced in a statement on Friday that increasing violence at the popular street party has forced the group to withdrawal as hosts.
The all-volunteer sisters have hosted Pink Saturday for the past 20 years. The event attracts thousands of party-goers and raises tens of thousands of dollars annually for various nonprofits.
“Pink Saturday has been increasingly difficult to produce in recent years,” Sister Selma Soul said in a statement. “An escalation in violence associated with the event convinced us last summer that the event needed to significantly change if we were to produce it again.”
Selma was referring to a violent attack on one of the sisters and her husband in 2014 by a group that yelled homophobic slurs. But there have been high-profile acts of violence in recent years.
In 2010, Stephen Powell, a 19-year-old high school basketball player was shot and killed at the event while two others were injured. Then in 2013, a 28-year-old woman brutally was brutally attacked and robbed by group of people. That attack was caught on camera and led the conviction of Christopher Porter-Bailey, 23, of Oakland.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District 8 includes the Castro, told The San Francisco Examiner that he plans to work with The City and the sisters to find other groups to host the event.
“I’m optimistic that we will have a path forward,” he said.
Such a plan, he said, would probably include the event ending earlier in the evening to cut down on rowdier crowds that usually arrive later.
The Sisters had announced last year that if they were to continue sponsoring the event, they would have to come up with a “new vision” for the event. “Unfortunately,” Soul said in the statement, “we did not.”
Sister Soul, who has volunteered at the event for the past 18 years, told Hoodline, a local news blog, that adequate staffing was an issue as police are spread thin for the evening’s event.
It’s only in recent years that Pink Saturday has become a street dance party but it originally started in 1990 as an AIDS protest hosted by radical group ACT UP.