The Women’s Building walks away from conservative rally

Andrew Leal

Organizers for the #WalkAway campaign, led by Brandon Straka, held a rally in front of The Women’s Building in the Mission on Feb. 1, to promote a pathway out of the Democratic Party for members of the LGTBQ+ community and other groups who traditionally vote blue. 

#WalkAway is a group dedicated to encourage traditionally democrat voting blocs to leave the party. The group believes the Democratic Party drives a narrative of violence, vandalism, race-baiting and fake news. 

The event was originally scheduled to be held inside The Women’s Building but a tweet posted by Straka three hours before start time, detailed that “The Women’s Building of SF has caved to extremist leftists who have labeled #WalkAway ‘anti-homeless community.’”

Members of #WalkAway led by Scott Presler organized a clean up outside of SF town hall earlier Saturday morning. At the clean up Presler and cleaners were accused of being anti-homeless. 

“Isn’t it a kinda of like a negative comment on how you feel about homeless people if you’re like ‘no they like living in trash, leave the trash all around them,’” said Straka, “I mean I think even homeless people enjoy living in a clean neighborhood.”

Straka shared a screenshot of an email #WalkAway was sent from the Women’s Building Booking Director, Olivia Herrera, which read that “we cannot execute the proposed contract…The disparagement of a group, in this case, the homeless population, would be against the terms of the proposed contract.” who wrote this email? 

Herrera sent an email on Jan. 17 stating that the #Walkaway group had no risk of losing the space unless they cancelled.

A panel of speakers that included Blaire White, Mike Harlow, Scott Presler and Straka were to speak at the #WalkAway rally but instead voiced their grievances with the Democrat Party on the sidewalk of 18th street outside the venue to a crowd of supporters and counter-protesters. 

“I want everybody to hear me loud and clear,” Presler yelled, “I reject the Democrat Party!”

Presler stood microphone in hand to list out his criticisms which include an accusations the democrats have locked up black men and given undocumented immigrants priority attention. 

“Why do democrats hate Blacks so much that Blacks come last?” asked Presler.

Presler and many supporters in the crowd expressed their intent to vote for President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. 

“This is like Stonewall for LGTB conservatives, we’re gonna fight back,” said Straka. 

Proponents for #WalkAway were met with chants of opposition throughout the two hour long affair.

“Queers, straights, blacks, whites all unite to fight the right!”

“Fascist fascist go away racist sexist anti-gay!”

“We stand together we say no, this racist shit has got to go!”

Youtube personality Blaire White, who is transgender and who covers social and political topics on her channel, was present at the protest to meet up with fans and eventgoers. She along with the other members of the panel were supposed to be speaking inside the venue. 

“Unfortunately there’s no productive conversation happening here today,” said White, “there’s only two sides screaming at each other which is not what I do.”

White expressed the want for people to think for themselves and not because of their skin color, sexuality, or gender orientation. She believes that it is hard for people to stand for what they believe in. 

“I have fans who are scared,” said White, “people get intimidated and it’s just unfortunate.”

Karina Navarro, a fan of White, attended the event to hear the many perspectives on the panel. Navarro felt there were more people protesting that she originally thought.

“I’m in the LGBT community as well and I’m very against what they have done politically,” said Navarro. 

She is leaning towards voting Trump in the 2020 election citing a lack of “good candidates.”

“Even though their venue is shut everything down we still come to hear what they say and that’s more important than just sitting comfortably in a venue.”