By Wilson Walker

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The parade has been cancelled and the celebration will have to be online. Pride 50 has been dramatically scaled back because of the coronavirus, but one part of the annual event will continue, and in grand fashion.

“25 years ago I was sitting in a restaurant on Market Street with a friend, and we decided ‘gee, what can we do to add a little color to the parade this year,’” recalled San Francisco Pink Triangle founder Patrick Carney. “And right outside the window was Twin Peaks.”

25 years later and Patrick Carney’s offhand idea is now part of the city’s spiritual infrastructure.

“And the pink triangle was this tragic symbol from the holocaust,” Carney said. “From one of the darkest chapters in human history.”

And while there will be no parade this year, the triangle will be back.

“The big difference in 2020 will be that it’s mainly a nighttime display,” Carney explains.

“Its relationship, with the point of this triangle, as it moves down the civic spine of Market Street, it’s almost like an acupressure point that brings the city into alignment,” said Ben Davis of Illuminate, the company behind the Bay Lights art installation on the Bay Bridge. Illuminate will be lighting the triangle with 2,700 LEDs.

“Our goal is to really be in service to the symbol itself,” Davis explained. “The symbol is an extremely powerful shape with a complex history.”

“The rainbow flag and the pink triangle is sort of the yin/yang of the gay rights symbols,” Carney says, referring to Gilberrt Baker’s iconic work.

The hope is that the glowing triangle will add a little light in time darkened by a pandemic.

“This piece is really a direct response to the time in which we live,” said Davis. “I don’t think it would’ve happened if we weren’t in this extraordinary moment.”

“So a symbol born out of such horrific origins has been usurped and is now a symbol of hope, resilience, and pride,” said Carney.

Normally, the pink triangle is up for three days. The illuminated triangle will be up for two to three weeks. The lighting ceremony will be on June 27th.

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