On Saturday, June 27, 2020 San Francisco Mayor London Breed presided over the historic inaugural lighting of the illuminated Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks.
From the moment she flipped on the 2,700 LEDs, creating a vibrant, acre-sized triangle of pink light, it shined like a beacon above the darkened soul of San Francisco. Almost all else was shut down in the city due to Covid restrictions, yet the Pink Triangle – a symbol of equity and resilience – shined brightly throughout the city and into the East Bay.
And for the next two weeks, until the close of the International AIDS conference, the lights provided nightly evidence of the resolve of a determined group to protect a beloved symbol and to make it more visible than ever.
Why was the Pink Triangle illuminated?
More than 500 donors and countless volunteers and supporters came together to help pull off the near miracle of bringing to life Patrick Carney’s iconic canvas installation, which was imperiled by Covid-related restrictions on volunteers. For the previous 24 years, Carney and nearly 300 volunteers gathered annually to cover the hillside in pink canvas, but last year – it’s 25th – it appeared there would be no triangle to kick-off Pride in San Francisco.
But through an effort spearheaded by Illuminate, the nonprofit responsible for the Bay Lights, a dazzling vision began to come into focus. What if a small team could safely cover the hillside in lights, creating an illuminated Pink Triangle that would be more visible than ever?
Less than 80 days later, an astonishing $100,000 had been raised and nearly 3,000 LEDs were meticulously laid out on a high-tech grid system on the hill.
But before the Grand Lighting, an important procession made its way to San Francisco from Oakland. With Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff leading the way, a symbolic Pink Torch was carried all the way around Lake Merritt by representatives of Oakland Pride. It was then handed off to members of Dykes on Bikes, who roared over the Bay Bridge with the torch on full display. Up Market Street it came, resolutely carried by members of the SF LGBTQ community and escorted by Dykes on Bikes. Once in the Castro, the torch was handed off to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence before the final hand off to Dykes on Bikes and a race up to the top of Twin Peaks where Mayor Breed awaited.
With darkness now achieved and with a throng of supporters below on Castro Street, Mayor Breed (along with Patrick Carney, and Illuminate’s Ben Davis), officially lit the sky pink.