How The Diversity Foundation of San Francisco Keeps The Castro’s Rainbow Flag Flying

The year is 1978 and Harvey Milk has just been elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors. One of his first orders of business is a challenge to his friend Gilbert Baker to create a symbol of hope for the Gay Community. Baker gladly takes the project on, sewing together a rainbow flag consisting of eight colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, pink and turquoise. The later two colors were removed and thus was born the symbol of Gay Pride, which can be seen for miles atop the 70-foot flagpole on Castro and Market Street in the Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco.

A short time later, Gilbert met the Diversity Foundation’s Tom Taylor and as Baker says, “We just hit it off. Tom is a ‘Jack of all trades.’ If you need something done, Tom knows how to do it.”

That know-how is best expressed in this video showing Taylor raising a new Rainbow Flag in the Castro, something the Diversity Foundation of San Francisco does every three months.

According to Terry Asten, the President of the Castro Merchants Association, back in the 90’s, the flag was under city control and was not well maintained. He “has put in hours and hours and hours of his own time along with paying for many expenses associated with giving the flag the love and care it needs to look its best,” says Asten about Taylor and the Diversity Foundation.

Tom Taylor and Dr. Jerry Goldstein, who founded the Diversity Foundation of San Francisco in 2012, have been involved in numerous community efforts for many decades now. When asked about what’s next for the Castro neighborhood, Asten mentioned plans are in the works to create a Rainbow intersection as part of the sidewalk-widening project at 18th and Castro. Naturally, the Diversity Foundation of San Francisco was consulted to determine the best medium for creating this new city landmark.

The Diversity Foundation of San Francisco is a major contributor in keeping Milk’s and Baker’s idea alive. In addition to funding the equipment, sewing machines, and Tom Taylor’s labor for the upkeep of the Rainbow Flag, the Diversity Foundation also pays for storage of the flag and other flag projects such as hanging of the Rainbow Flag at City Hall for the celebration of Marriage Equality with Gavin Newsom and Mayor Ed Lee.

Support the activities of the Diversity Foundation including the Rainbow Flag presence, the Christmas Tree, and research into sexual and population diversity worldwide. Please give here.