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LA Pride roars to life in 2019

Staffing changes lead to cash influx for 49th annual celebration

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After several tumultuous years and struggles to secure proper funding for the annual LA Pride Parade and Festival, the Christopher Street West Association Inc. (CSW) is seeing an upswing in donations this year as it approaches the 50-year anniversary of organizing the event.

Several changes to the 49th annual festival marked a first, including securing new big-box retail sponsors, hiring a dedicated, salaried staff and securing a full broadcast of the parade on KABC/ABC7 News.

Estevan Montemayor is the new President of Christopher Street West’s board. (Photo courtesy Christopher Street West)

Christopher Street West Board President Estevan Montemayor said, “we have more sponsors than ever before, and more community partners in the parade than ever before. This festival has expanded in ways the founders couldn’t even imagine 49 years ago.”

Montemayor took the post of president in May 2018 after Christopher Street West Association’s previous president, Christopher Classen, was removed.

Shortly afterwards, Montemayor and the Christopher Street West board hired the Aspen Leadership Group to aid in finding a full-time executive director and operations manager in October 2017.

Madonna Cacciatore. (Photo by Gene Reed)

The Association and Aspen Leadership eventually selected Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore in July 2018. Cacciatore formerly served as the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s special events fundraising director for seven years, and also worked for AIDS Project Los Angeles, bringing an existing network of nonprofit contacts and donors to the Christopher Street West Association. So did the Association’s new sponsorship consultant Michael Ferrera, Montemayor said.

“One of the things I recognized when I joined the board was to move the organization into the next 50 years, we needed to pivot and have dedicated staff,” said Montemayor.

Hiring new talent was crucial, but it also meant the Christopher Street West Association needed to raise more money. “We have other costs now associated with the organization and we now have employees; we pay benefits and salaries now, which is new,” Montemayor said. “Between all that, the need to raise more funds is important.”

This year, telecommunications giant Verizon Wireless Inc. paid Christopher Street West Association $1 million to be the title sponsor of the 49th and 50th annual Pride Parades. The gift was “the single largest contribution we ever received as an organization, (and) that’s pretty incredible,” Montemayor noted. New board member Craig Greiwe brought the connection to Verizon with him when he joined the board’s new class in October 2018 and it proved to be valuable. “It’s really important that new board members and staff brought relationships, without them we wouldn’t be able to execute these agreements,” said Montemayor.

Montemayor noted that large brands such as Anheuser Busch Inc.’s Bud Light, Delta, Wells Fargo, and Mac Cosmetics have been with the organization “for decades” and aren’t a stranger to sponsoring the festival. That said, the overall volume of large companies writing larger checks is relatively new.   

Standard corporate fees for corporate sponsors total roughly $10,000 said Ghiyom Turmel, coordinator of Sawtelle-based game developer Riot Games’ sponsorship of Pride for the second year in a row.

“For me, it is important to be a champion for my organization and push Riot to participate in these events because representation matters. It all clicked when I first participated at Pride with my previous video game company gear and I had so many gaymers coming up to me, being so happy to see that there were gay people in the industry and that maybe that was a place where they could grow their career without fear of being singled out,” Turmel said.

New brands this year that signed up to sponsor the Parade and Festival include Johnson & Johnson, Charles Smith Wines, and Caesar’s Entertainment. Montemayor would not disclose how much each sponsor contributed, but said they are all presenting sponsors, the second highest sponsorship tier

Johnson & Johnson, Caesar’s Entertainment and Mac Cosmetics are co-sponsoring the L.A. Pride opening ceremony, which features a free evening performance by Paula Abdul.

Paula Abdul.

Even local sports teams want a piece of the rainbow cake — on May 31 the Los Angeles Dodgers will welcome LGBT fans to Dodger Stadium for an official Pride kickoff celebration. The Dodgers “have donated in the last few years,” Montemayor said.

KABC ABC7 News signed up to be the weekend’s first parade broadcast sponsor and will do pre-parade coverage on June 6 and broadcast live parade coverage on June 7. “The View’s” Raven Symone will be one of the co-hosts of the broadcast.

Montemayor said announcing the KABC showing was a big draw for sponsors, partially because of the potential to reach even more people.

“There has been a resounding amount of excitement regarding this, it’s an important step for the financial side of the organization (and) we’re seeing we’re able to expand our footprint digitally in a way people haven’t imagined before,” Montemayor noted.

Not only are event sponsorships key to the Pride Festival’s success,they can also determine the success of the Christopher Street West Association’s following year. Proceeds from Pride fuel other programs, including Platform, a collaboration between CSW and the LA LGBT Center that trains young transgender people to become advocates and lobby elected officials.

A scholarship for Queer Studies majors at USC is funded partially through Pride proceeds, as is CSW’s newly revived community grant program.

The program awards queer-friendly nonprofits $1,000 to $10,000, “based on proceeds from the festival and parade,” and was stopped a few years ago due to lack of funds, said Montemayor. CSW is fiscally sound enough to bring the grant program back this year, thanks in part to its robust new sponsorships.

Giving back to the West Hollywood and Greater L.A. community remains a motivator for the CSW’s new director and staff to continue its momentum.

“CSW has continued to survive because its story is so poignant,” said Montemayor. “Next year we will be doing more to raise funds for this organization to make sure it’s successful and always has a net profit every year,” said Montemayor.

 

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Pride Special

South LA Pride is back! Queer BIPOC artists to headline celebration

LA Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson & Herb Wesson set to host 4th annual celebration. Congresswoman Karen Bass scheduled to speak

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Courtesy of South LA Pride

LOS ANGELES – South LA Pride is back after a two-year break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. For its 4th celebration, South LA Pride will host a free community picnic at Norman O. Houston Park (4800 La Brea Ave.) on Friday, July 1 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The event will be headlined by local queer Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists including the Angela Davis of hip hop MEDUSA, the TRANS CHORUS OF LOS ANGELES, and the winner of HBO Max’s season one voguing reality competition television series “Legendary” JAMARI AMOUR JACOBS with the House of Marc Jacobs.

A full list of performers can be found at southlapride.com.

Free park & ride lots will be available for the public at The Stocker Building (3731-3761 Stocker Blvd.), Park Hills Community Church (5247 Overdale Dr.), and Windsor Elementary School (5215 Overdale Dr.). 

In addition to the live performances, special guests, including Congressmember KAREN BASS, will be in attendance.

Co-hosted by Los Angeles Councilmembers MARQUEECE HARRIS-DAWSON and HERB WESSON, South LA Pride will host a free outdoor community picnic featuring a live DJ, games, drag performances, food vendors, and live performances from popular LA-based BIPOC queer entertainers. A free family-friendly event, South LA Pride, is scheduled to kick off the Independence Day weekend on Friday, July 1, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Norman O. Houston Park, 4800 South La Brea. More information at 

Journalist, political strategist, and advocate JASMYNE CANNICK has been announced as the 2022 Chair of South LA Pride. 

South LA Pride 2022 HONOREES include:  Bienestar, Black Lesbians United (BLU), Community Coalition, Compton Pride, Independent Development Programs, Invisible Men, LA Black LGBTQ Movement, Los Angeles Legends Football, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Minority AIDS Project, Pride and Promote, So Cal’s Men’s Club and the Unique Women’s Coalition.

Attendees are welcome to bring their own food and drink or can opt to purchase food and drink from the onsite food truck vendors. A limited number of barbecue pits are available in the park and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Onsite parking is limited, so public transportation and ride-sharing are encouraged. Shuttles will be available between local parking lots and the event site.  More information will be available online and on social media.

The 2022 South LA Pride Community Picnic is sponsored in part by Community Coalition, Providence, FOX, and AEG.

Additional details about South LA Pride will be made available on social media. Follow the hashtag #SouthLAPride on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram, or visit southlapride.com for the latest updates.

WHAT:

South LA Pride

A free, family-friendly community picnic hosted by Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Herb Wesson to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride in South LA.

WHEN:

Friday, July 1, 2022

3 p.m.–10 p.m.

WHERE:

Norman O. Houston Park

4800 S. La Brea Avenue

Los Angeles 90008

COST:

Free 

Attendees are encouraged to pack their picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs.

For more information visit:

Southlapride.com

Hashtag to follow #SouthLAPride

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Pride Special

Boys & Girls Club of Malibu encourages youth embrace diversity for Pride

“Pride is an opportunity to encourage youth to celebrate differences in others & themselves, as our differences- make the world so beautiful”

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Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

MALIBU, Ca. – Throughout the year, the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu (BGCM) is focused on programs that highlight the importance of inclusion of all people. But, during the month of June, BGCM Pride activities have encouraged Club youth to embrace diversity.

According to staff it is BGCM’s objective to establish safe spaces and ensure that all are not just invited, but belong. Pride is both a joyful celebration and a serious reminder that all people deserve the same rights, regardless of how one identifies.

Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

“Our youth have been participating in conversations around the importance of allyship. They are identifying and finding ways to rectify systematic disparities for those part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and encouraging others to have Pride in who they are and empowering themselves to be advocates for others,” said Tyler Hawkins, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director of Boys & Girls Club of Malibu. “Pride is an opportunity to encourage youth to celebrate the differences in others and themselves, as our differences are what make the world so beautiful.”

Pride Month Programming at Boys & Girls Club of Malibu includes:

  • “Fireside chats” talking about how to define and discuss what pride is and explain why we celebrate. Children are encouraged to think about who they are as a person and find pride in who they are. The goal is to teach the youth about acceptance and love for all people.
  • Club kids participated in art projects related to Pride, such as creating their own flags which could be in any color or design that resonated with them and they wrote at least one thing on each line that they are proud of themselves about.
  • Club youth also had the opportunity to participate in a reading of “Love Makes the Family” by Sophia Beer. The book talks about how families look different and how we all come from different backgrounds, and we should embrace what makes us unique.
  • Club teens also learned how to advocate for those in the LGBTQIA+ community and researched the different ways that can be done. The students were provided with information about how the LGTBQIA+ community are impacted negatively by limited access to resources, discrimination, stereotypes and more, and then students created posters to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights and discussed how they can address issues for that community.
  • Pride Month at BGCM wrapped with a celebration for the kids to feel proud about who they are as individuals. They dressed up in whatever makes them feel good about themselves and listened to music, danced and enjoyed some colorful shaved ice.
  • The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu also has a clinician-staffed Wellness Center that has helped many Club youth and their families. Since 2017, the BGCM Wellness Center has served 5,000+ individuals and families, at no cost. The Center provides services such as mental health counseling, trauma-informed case management, social and emotional learning, healthcare assistance, parenting support groups, student workshops and much more. Any member of the Malibu community can access the Wellness Center – from students and teachers to senior citizens and commuters that work in Malibu, but don’t have residency there. The Center’s services are also offered in Spanish, which is crucial considering around 20% of its clients are Spanish speaking.
Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

Four members of the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu expressed what this type of environment and learning programs meant.

“To me, Pride is celebrating who you are and feeling safe to come out,” said Briana L., 7th grade. A fellow 7th grader, Delilah M. said, “It’s important to uplift people with diverse identities to make them feel safe and included in their community.”

Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

Older students such as Emily P., a high school junior and high school senior Aiza R. noted the impact on their lives and others. “To me, Pride means being happy that you can express who you are. It’s important to uplift people with diverse identities because many have been oppressed for so long, so it’s important to take time to celebrate uniqueness and recognize precious struggles,” said Aiza.

Emily chimed in saying, “Pride means being proud of who you are. Uplifting people from diverse backgrounds is important because it breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for relationships that can help people grow and be who they are.”

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Pride Special

South American LGBTQ+ activists mark Pride Month

The Movement for Homosexual Integration & Liberation & Fundación Iguales in Chile organized a demonstration- 100,000 people participated

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More than 100,000 people attended a Pride protest in Santiago, Chile, on June 25, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Gonzalo Velásquez)

SANTIAGO, Chile – Activists in Chile and across Latin America on June 25 took to the streets to celebrate Pride Month.

The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh) and Fundación Iguales in Chile organized a demonstration in Santiago, the country’s capital, in which more than 100,000 people participated. March organizers demanded the repeal of Article 365 of the Chilean Penal Code that criminalizes same-sex couples.

Movilh member Felipe Castillo explained “Article 365 of the Penal Code stigmatizes and discriminates against young homosexuals, as it sets 18 years as the age of sexual consent, when for heterosexuals it is 14 years.”

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has asked Chile to repeal Article 365. The country has committed to eliminate the law in an agreement it signed with Movilh in 2016 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Chile’s marriage equality law took effect on March 10, the day before President Gabriel Boric took office. 

New Colombia president a sign of hope for LGBTQ, intersex activists

LGBTQ and intersex activists in Colombia are looking forward to what will be a new political era after former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro won the second round of the country’s presidential elections on June 19. Petro, along with his running mate, Vice President-elect Francia Márquez, who will be the country’s first vice president of African descent, will be the first leftist executives in Colombian history.

A source in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, told the Washington Blade that Petro during the campaign pledged to fight violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to implement policies “for the reaffirmation of gender identities and sexual orientation without barriers for all non-binary people and transgender people in Colombia.”

Manuel Velandia, a long-time Colombian LGBTQ and intersex activist who organized the country’s first demonstration in support of queer rights 39 years ago, told the Blade that authorities sent a contingent of 100 police officers and “we — 29 gay men, two lesbian women and a transsexual woman — marched.”

“The march could take place because in Colombia it was a crime to be homosexual and we achieved the decriminalization of homosexuality in the Penal Code,” said Velandia.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Bogotá on June 25 to demand a nationwide LGBTQ and intersex strategy “as a measure to guarantee the rights of this population, combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sexual characteristics (OSIEGCS), and eliminate the barriers that persist for the materialization of the rights acquired by judicial means, according to national and international human rights standards.” 

Velandia explained to the Blade that activists are “writing a document of what we expect from the next government from president’s inauguration and during the first 100 days.”

“We now are focusing on the most priority issues,” said Velandia. “We think that a law that comes out of a ministry is not as important as a national law passed by Congress.”

Additional Pride marches will take place in Bogotá in the coming days.

Peruvian activists hold country’s largest-ever Pride march

The largest Pride march in Peru’s history took place on June 25 in Lima, the country’s capital.

“It has been the largest march in the 20 years of history of this massive activity,” activist Jorge Apolaya told the Blade. “[It was a] joyful rebellion, as we call it.”

Apoyala pointed out activists took to the streets because “it is necessary” for Peru and President Pedro Castillo’s government to act on “the demands of the LGBT population, the gender identity law, the equal marriage law that are pending before respective committees in the Congress of the Republic and generate the necessary discussions so that they can be debated.”

According to the activist, “the country continues to remain at the back door with respect to respect for LGBT human rights in the world, but not even in the world, but at the Latin American level.”

Protests prompt cancellation of many Ecuador Pride events

Protests that have taken place across Ecuador for more than two weeks prompted activists to suspend most activists and demonstrations in favor of LGBTQ and intersex rights that had been scheduled to take place this month.

“There are seven Prides that have already been suspended out of those that were scheduled,” Diane Rodríguez, a prominent Ecuadorian activist, told the Blade.

Rodríguez noted two marches in the cities of Santo Domingo and Loja were able to take place on Saturday.

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