What started out as a “Kiss In” to protest the threatened eviction of two gay men that had been holding hands and kissing at the Roseville Galleria last weekend morphed into a love fest. As soon as I saw the large rainbow balloon arch, music stage and sound system, I knew Westfield PR executives had triumphed in turning protest into rally.
Lovely party, dahling
With bottled water, Mrs. Fields cookies and Starbuck samples being offered to the assembled protesters like hors drovers at a cocktail party, the renamed “Love is Love” protest had the feeling of a campaign stop for a politician. Even the local TV stations were on hand to catch a glimpse of the masterful PR event orchestrated by Westfield executives.
Stopping PR disaster
Of course, had I been Westfield, I would have gone into full public relations “goodwill” mode after the horrible performance of the Galleria General Manager Eddie Ollmann in his comments, or lack of them, to Fox 40 News. The GM acted has if he was being ambushed by a crew of 60 Minutes when he refused to discuss why the two men had been admonished about kissing by a mall security guard.
Kum Ba Yah
What was turning into a disaster for the Roseville Galleria was deftly organized into a “We love you, please spend your money at the mall” event. Several speakers, including the lead organizer of the event, Beverly Kearney, made heart felt statements on behalf of the LGBTQI community. A Westfield executive also spoke apologizing for the incident and affirming their commitment to equality and equal treatment.
Children spared horror of same sex kisses
One person commented on my original blog post that he felt the whole Kiss In protest was disrespectful and immature. Well, Westfield protected him and his children from seeing virtually anyone kiss at the protest, er..rally. Shoppers at the Roseville Galleria enjoyed shopping and eating at the food court mostly oblivious to the assembled rainbow crowd in the Promenade area.
Hello, we’re here
I know Westfield and local equality groups like the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center in Sacramento are sensitive that the LGBTQI community be seen in a favorable light. It was admirable that they all came together to organize an event that was positive. But all the speakers and music were just really preaching to the choir. Did any of the rainbow energy seep into the halls of the mall to enlighten the community at large? Did the security guard or GM get the big message?
Job well done
The rally was very nice. Westfield protected their image. Several organizations stepped up to the plate to create a positive presence for the LGBTQI community outside of downtown Sacramento. Success? When I ever get to shop at Brooks Brothers it’s a good day.
Photo gallery after YouTube links. All of the photos were taken with my iPhone and enhanced with Instagram. Click on an image to enlarge.