Post Street in downtown San Jose is one block with a colorful and historic past. The first California legislature was founded in 1851 in the watering holes once known as El Dorado Street. This is where downtown Mardi Gras celebrations started small before they got too big. And more recently, it has been the unofficial home for San Jose’s LGBTQ community during celebrations like Silicon Valley Pride.
Now consider this designation official.
The section of Post Street between Market Street and First Street was renamed the QMunity District on Thursday when San Jose joined the list of major cities across the country that has an established historical area for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people feature. LGBTQ) community, such as Lavender Heights in Sacramento or the Castro in San Francisco.
“I always knew this was a very special road,” said TJ Bruce, Owner of Splash Nightclub which, along with Mac’s Club bar, is one of two LGBTQ businesses on the street. “For a lot of LGBT people this feels like home, and I think what happens here will make this special.”
The “redesign” of Post Street is the result of a collaboration between Project More, which supports the LGBTQ community through cultural events and advocacy, including the San Jose City Council Raul PeralezOffice, Santa Clara County LGBTQ Affairs, Gensler Design Bureau, and San Jose Downtown Association.
“This new district will not only showcase LGBTQ diversity, expression, talent, history and cultural arts, but will also welcome LGBTQ and related businesses, organizations, residences and visitors of all kinds,” said Project More President Nathan Svoboda.
Peralez’s office allocated $ 66,000 for the first phase, which includes street lamp banners, colorful intersection and sidewalk art, and programmable LED lights between buildings. The funding will also be used for a planned mural showing the work of three LGBTQ artists. More information on this area can be found at qmunitydistrict.org.
The Downtown Association also worked with the city to close part of the street to vehicular traffic for the remainder of the year and created the third outdoor dining area in the city center, which is for restaurants on Post Street such as Don Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant and Ice cream is open business.
Maribel MartinezThe director of the Santa Clara County Bureau of LGBTQ Affairs says LGBTQ people still feel insecure and crave community even in progressive Silicon Valley. As a strange person who grew up in East San Jose, she said she always felt out of place. But on Thursday she felt at home.
“With this room, we, the LGBTQ community in San Jose, are not going to be going back to the closets, literally or metaphorically,” she said. “Instead, we are infused in the heart of downtown and filled with hope, justice and of course, fabulous, revolutionary love.”
WHAT IS OPEN, WHAT IS NOT: The Winchester Mystery House announced that it will be bringing back small-group self-guided tours starting September 12 after Santa Clara County eased its COVID-19 restrictions. The last time the San Jose attraction tried to reopen to indoor touring was in July, but it was only two days before the county got it back on its feet. Hopefully this route will take a lot longer.
While the county’s new guidelines allow indoor museums to open, Tech Interactive in downtown San Jose is letting people know that it is not ready to welcome visitors back to the Mango Azure learning center. In addition to any COVID-19 concerns, the tech’s email newsletter said it wouldn’t be the same without much of its hands-on experience. There’s no doubt about that – although tech leadership may also have wondered if they’re still considered a museum after removing the word from the name last year.
ONE WORD – MICROPLASTICS: Saratoga High School Senior Urmila vudali has been studying plastics and their harmful effects for some time, but even she had no idea how much plastic drowns our world every day in ways we can’t even see.
“We can find traces of plastics in toxins in our own bodies, and they can come from car tires to our laundry,” said Vudali, student leader of the Saratoga Youth Climate Action Team and representative of Supervisor’s Santa Clara County Youth Task Force Joe SimitianDistrict.
So what does she do about it? She has organized a Zoom webinar on the dangers of microplastics to humans and the environment, attended by a group of environmental scientists and water pollution experts. It will take place on September 14th at 4 p.m. – which has been named Microplastic Awareness Day by Santa Clara County – and you can get more information and register at www.sccgov.org/sites/d5.
THE BIG DISCOVERY: Urban Confluence Silicon Valley will unveil the three key designs – and the people behind them – in the race for a proposed landmark structure in downtown San Jose. The unveiling will take place during a virtual event on September 18, starting at 7 pm with a “pre-party” and a presentation of the more than 900 submitted designs.
The event will be broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook Live. You can register for free at www.urbanconfluencesiliconvalley.org.