Mardi Gras 78er and veteran LGBTIQ activist Sandi Banks passed away this week after battling cancer.
Sandi was one of the 53 people arrested by police on the night of the first Mardi Gras parade on June 24, 1978.
The event was violently broken up by police, and those arrested were beaten by police and publicly named by the media.
At the NSW Police Commissioner’s apology to the 78ers in 2018, Sandi spoke about her ordeal at the hands of Darlinghurst Police in 1978.
On Twitter, Mardi Gras confirmed Sandi had sadly died on Monday morning (March 16) after a long battle with cancer.
“Our thoughts are with her partner Jean and their many friends,” they said.
Last month, Sandi was able to take part in the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, joining fellow 78ers in their parade contingent.
78er Sandi Banks’ memories of first Mardi Gras event
Sydney blogger William Brougham remembered Sandi as someone who “always spoke her mind and never suffered fools gladly.”
“But there was a warmth about her that I found endearing. She also had a great sense of humour,” he said.
“When Sandi laughed, we all laughed. Her laugh was infectious. I’ll never forget that smile and cheeky glint in her eyes.”
Saddened to hear of the death of Sydney activist and Mardi Gras 78er Sandi Banks. One of 53 people arrested at that first Mardi Gras in June 1978. Sandi shared her memories of that night with me and her early activism back in 2016. https://t.co/v18aJVIuD5 pic.twitter.com/2iWDhPEGXL
— William Brougham (@WilliamBrougham) March 16, 2020
In 2016, William recorded an in-depth interview with Sandi, during which she recalls her experience at that first parade.
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