Nora Trow-Shaw 0

Ask Supervisor Bevan Dufty to Respect Free Speech for Reggae Artists Performing in San Francisco

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Dear Supervisor Dufty, As members of the San Francisco reggae community, we are contacting you to respectfully request that you and the Board of Supervisors recognize freedom of speech for reggae artists performing in San Francisco. We understand that a small portion of reggae music promotes homophobic and anti-gay perspectives. We also recognize that these songs do not represent reggae music as a whole, nor do they reflect our own personal opinions of homosexuality. However, we believe it is unfair to single out these artists and accuse them of perpetuating hatred and violence over music they no longer perform nor promote. We are aware of these hateful lyrics, and refuse to listen or advocate these songs. But no artist should be pigeon-holed for a few old homophobic songs, when the remainder of their discography promotes unity, peace, and love. Freedom of speech is one of the most powerful rights endowed to Americans. This freedom extends to protect speech we want to hear, but more importantly, to protect speech we don't want to hear. We are asking you to reconsider your stance on Capleton's upcoming performance in San Francisco to demonstrate that free speech is an aspect of American culture that San Francisco in particular, and the United States as a whole, values highly, without exception. We, the members of the Bay Area Reggae Community believe in equal rights, tolerance, acceptance, and respect for all people. We strive to promote peace and unity within our own community and among all cultures and communities. We love Capleton and reggae music and we believe that the use of intimidation as a technique to pressure the venue owner of 1015 Folsom to cancel this show is unfair and unnecessary, and negatively affects our First Amendment rights. We do not promote hate speech and we believe that Capleton's music does not reflect this part of reggae music in the Bay Area. As an act of compromise, we agree to inform any reggae artists performing in the Bay Area that we respect the full rights of the LGBT community, and that any homophobic or anti-gay music will not be tolerated. These artists should still be allowed to perform the remaining 95% of their repertoire, which does not consist of hateful lyrics; in fact, most reggae music promotes unity and love. If the Board of Supervisors chooses to allow Capleton to play, the promoters will agree to donate 100% of the profits from this show to creating a local Reggae Union that will work on providing a platform and healthcare and support to members of the Bay Area reggae community. We will also agree to create a committee of valued members within the Bay Area reggae community which will work with the local LGBT community to open a dialogue so that issues like this will not create problems for either communities in the future. We will strive to find ways to work together with the entire San Francisco Bay Area so that no group feels threatened by any reggae artists. The last time a performer whose music was deemed hateful by the LGBT community came to San Francisco to perform, the only violent and hateful acts committed were done by members of the LGBT community, who set off pepper spray bombs inside the venue which caused a great risk of safety for the peaceful attendees. Note that this artist did not perform any hateful or homophobic music at that show, and has not performed nor recorded any hateful or homophobic music in over a decade. We understand the position you are in, Mr. Dufty, and are not attempting to create a difficult situation for you or the Board of Supervisors. We are asking you and the Board to reconsider your stance on this issue and to recognize that freedom of speech is extended to everyone, including members of both the LGBT community and the reggae community. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, The Members of the Bay Area Reggae Community


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