Castro’s Iconic Christmas Tree Lighting in San Francisco Shines a Light on Local Shopping, Halting LGBTQ+ Hatred

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — With a countdown and the flick of a switch… the best time of year has arrived again in San Francisco’s Castro district.

“This one is my favorite because the locals are here,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

On Monday night, San Francisco leaders stepped out to light one of the city’s most famous Christmas trees.

MORE: LIST: 2022 Holiday Events Happening in the San Francisco Bay Area

The event has become a neighborhood tradition that often draws hundreds of people.

This year, it was also an opportunity to encourage holiday shoppers to visit the city’s neighborhoods and support local businesses.

“Small businesses are the fabric of the community. That’s why we have a neighborhood, it’s because of these small businesses,” said Dave Karraker of the Castro Merchants Association.

As this holiday season approaches, city leaders have stepped up their efforts to fight crime and improve public safety.

VIDEO: Holiday shoppers feel safer at Union Square in San Francisco, but thefts continue nearby

Many of them are eager to put last year’s string of high-profile robberies behind them.

“We’re changing those things and it’s starting to get a lot better. Is it perfect? ​​No. I mean we’re a big city and we’re always striving to be the best we can be every day,” Breed said.

But despite the festive mood, there were also dark moments. Several speakers took the time to remember those affected by the rise in LGBTQ hatred.

This included State Senator Scott Wiener.

“We have people who openly threaten LGBTQ people. We had the Club Q massacre,” he said.

MORE: Here’s how SF is beefing up security to patrol parking lots, curb burglaries

Wiener says that as attacks on LGBTQ people increase, events like the Castro Tree Lighting become even more prominent.

Show the world that the community remains unfazed and fearless.

“It’s important for us here in San Francisco to come together and express our values ​​of inclusion and love and just accepting people,” Wiener said.

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