Last week, the people who make this country's highest award for journalism brought honor to their profession by celebrating the courageous Guardian and Washington Post journalists who shared the evidence of government criminality exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In awarding the Pulitzer, they did the journalists and their source proud.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Pride Committee, under a new board, did the LGBT community proud by finally conferring one of our community's highest honors upon one of its most courageous individuals, Private Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning. They named Chelsea Manning the Honorary Grand Marshal of this year's San Francisco Pride Parade.
Like Edward Snowden, Chelsea did not do what she did for personal gain. She did it in an attempt to stop the plainly illegal and immoral practices of our government -- deliberate torture, murder, and support for the overthrow of democratically-elected governments -- serious felonies, if our government bothered to routinely prosecute the most rich and powerful for such crimes.
In choosing Chelsea Manning as this year's Grand Marshal, the new Pride Committee explicitly rebuked the previous Committee. That committee was headed by Lisa L. Williams, a politically-connected former operative for the Obama campaign who apparently didn't take kindly to Chelsea Manning's exposing of serious wrongdoing by both the Bush and Obama administrations.
After a group of previous grand marshals democratically voted to choose Chelsea for last year's honor, Williams violated the Committee's own rules to rescind it. As Pulitzer Prize-winning gay journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote at the time, "Bradley Manning is off limits at SF Gay Pride parade, but corporate sleaze is embraced."
In restoring Chelsea Manning's honor as the 2014 Grand Marshal, the new Pride Committee has restored pride to the San Francisco Pride Committee. Here is what Gary Virginia, the new President of the Board of San Francisco Pride said about the decision:
"Well, I think the community selected her last year because of her bravery to expose war crimes that our government was hiding, and they felt that she was wrongly prosecuted, treated poorly while she was imprisoned and not really given a fair trial. So a lot's happened since then, as we've seen with Edward Snowden's choice of how he released information. And he credits Chelsea Manning with guiding him on how he's released his information.
"And I think the whole country and world has changed with the bravery of these whistle blowers exposing surveillance and war crimes and other things.
"Look at organizations and people who are supportive of Chelsea Manning, like Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Military Law Task Force, the National Lawyers Guild, the Gay Bob Basker Post 315 of the American Legion here in San Francisco, the San Francisco Labor Council, Veterans for Peace, Queer Today. There's a whole host of people, including gay military people like Lieutenant Dan Choi, he was a huge advocate for 'don't ask, don't tell,' U.S. Army Colonel, retired, Ann Wright, Ethan McCord, a former U.S. Army specialist."
Please thank the new San Francisco Pride Committee for putting pride back in our annual Pride Parade. Thank them reminding us that pride means speaking the truth even when some don't want to hear it.
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