In this video, LGCSF singer Pax Ahimsa Gethen shares their thoughts on homelessness in San Francisco and our upcoming performance of Street Requiem.
Hi, I’m Pax. I sing with the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco.
I’ve lived in San Francisco for over 16 years, and I’ve been happy to make this city my home for many reasons. But despite our great tolerance and tremendous wealth, hundreds of my neighbors are living and dying out on the streets. The plight of our homeless population is so dire that the United Nations has characterized it as a human rights violation. I am ashamed.
Last December, I attended a processional organized by the Skywatchers, in memory of those who had died on the streets. We met at the Kelly Cullen Community, a center in the Tenderloin that provides housing and social services for homeless individuals. I had performed with LGCSF in the auditorium of this building at our Pride concert in 2014.
I learned of this processional from Melanie DeMore, who was the featured guest in our concert “Rise!” last November. Melanie taught us the songs we would be singing as we marched. Many of those songs, like “One Foot in Front of the Other”, were familiar to me from our concert and past events.
We marched to City Hall, holding signs bearing the names of the departed. We continued on to United Nations Plaza, where we joined an interfaith vigil. Local religious leaders, homeless people, and others took turns reading aloud the names of 240 people who had died on the streets of San Francisco that year.
On November 2, LGCSF will be remembering and honoring our departed homeless neighbors in our performance of Street Requiem, a choral work by Kathleen McGuire, Andy Payne, and Jonathon Welch. A portion of our ticket sales will benefit Larkin Street Youth Services, a nonprofit provider for young people experiencing homelessness. Please join us at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for this moving tribute.
Voice, video editing, and piano: Pax Ahimsa Gethen
Music: "Agnus Dei" (piano part only) from Street Requiem, by Kathleen McGuire and Andy Payne
LGCSF presents Street Requiem on November 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m. at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Tickets on sale now.