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Stonewall to DA Jackie Lacey: Restore trust or resign




(Editor’s note: This is a different kind of report. The primary election for Los Angeles District Attorney next March is going to be hugely important. I attended the Oct. 28 Stonewall Democratic Club meeting with LA County DA Jackie Lacey in West Hollywood to see how she answered community questions about the notorious Ed Buck case. But Black Lives Matter and family members of young Black men shot by police showed up and confronted Lacey with such raw pain and anguish – to be met by such a cold, logical legal formality – I felt it was important to make a fuller record of the interaction. – Karen Ocamb)

Jackie Lacey was shaking.  The District Attorney for Los Angeles County, the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation serving more than 10 million residents over 4,083 square miles, was surrounded by burley bodyguards and scores of Sheriff’s deputies with six squad cars standing by at the West Hollywood Library lest a scuffle broke out with the roughly 20 angry members of Black Lives Matter.

Lacey apparently expected a more traditional, parliamentary rules-driven meeting of the 44-year old Stonewall Democratic Club on Oct. 28. Facing a difficult re-election campaign, the LA DA came to the public political meeting to respond to a scolding Resolution that the LGBTQ-focused club was presenting for a membership vote.

Authored by Stonewall member Jasmyne Cannick, Legislative Action Chair Dr. John Erickson and Political Vice President Jane Wishon, the non-binding Resolution focused on the erosion of trust in the District Attorney’s office after allegations of “racial bias, unfairness, lack of communication, lack of public transparency,” and failure to meet publicly with communities of color; mishandling of the case against West Hollywood resident Ed Buck in the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean; failure to prosecute “police officers and Sheriff’s deputies who use deadly force against unarmed civilians, particularly African-American and Latino people; and for seeking the death penalty despite voters’ rejection and Gov. Newsom issuing a moratorium in March 2019.

Lacey was perhaps unaware that Stonewall stood with Jasmyne Cannick and the families of gay Black victims Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean as their families painfully expressed frustration and demanded action at numerous news conferences over what appeared to be the favored treatment of white Democratic donor, Ed Buck.

After establishing the caveat that she couldn’t say much because of the ongoing investigations, Lacey opened with an apology.

“I want to say something I should have said a long time ago. I’m sorry, to the Moore family and the Dean family for the loss of their loved ones,” Lacey said, interrupted by cat calls of “too late.”

Lacey tried to explain the required filing criteria in a criminal case. “We have to have legally sufficient and admissible evidence, and we have to have evidence of the identity of the perpetrator, and we have to make sure that the investigation is complete and thorough,” she said. “Finally, after looking at the prosecution’s case, we have to look at not just the evidence proving guilt, but also look at any sort of defense that may be plausible given our evidence. Here is the posture that we found ourselves in the Gemmel Moore case.”

The audience listened respectfully until she mispronounced “Gemmel.”

“Learn his name, that’s basic respect,” said one. “Wow,” said another.

While she appeared nervous before, now Lacey looked as if she was preparing to be pummeled. “Gemmel Moore. I’m sorry,” she said.

Lacey explained that state law required proof that “Buck injected meth” into both Moore and Dean resulting in their deaths. But there were mitigating factors: Buck called 911 and appeared to have attempted to administer aid. “He gave very self-serving statements that could not initially be rebutted by the physical evidence,” she said.

But the primary hinderance to prosecuting a case in Moore’s death on July 27, 2017 was that “the original sheriff’s deputies on the case were not homicide deputies. They were deputies from the station, and at first they treated it as though it were an overdose,” she said, which is what the coroner ruled in both cases – accidental overdose from methamphetamine.

But the deputies noticed a red toolbox they wanted to investigate and a “coroner’s investigator gave them information that turned out to be incorrect” – the misapplication of a government code, which meant they were not able to use the evidence of methamphetamine they found.

“So that presented a challenge and we continued to look for evidence in this case,” Lacey said. “At some point we began to hear that there were more victims of Mr. Buck. However, when those victims were interviewed after being granted immunity, there were things that we couldn’t corroborate because we knew that they were going to be cross-examined about some of the things that they said. For instance, sometimes the victim would say that he received medical treatment at a particular hospital and we would go to that hospital and not be able to get those medical records.”

In another case, Lacey said, “we would have a victim who said, ‘I made a police report,’ and we couldn’t find any record of that police report. It wasn’t until that third credible witness came forward that we caught a break in this case.”

In the meantime, Lacey said, “before that third victim came forward, the federal government, the FBI and the DEA began working with the sheriff’s department to see if they could prove a case under federal law, because under federal law you would not have needed to prove that Buck injected either of these gentlemen. You would just need to prove that he furnished the drugs.”

The third victim was found credible, had information they could corroborate, and was able to testify. That gave the DA sufficient evidence to file charges against Buck.

“The charges that we filed were a maximum sentence of five years and eight months and the bail, the maximum bail was going to be four million dollars,” Lacey said. “After searching Mr. Buck’s home and other things during his arrest, we discovered that four million dollars bail, he was able to make that bail, and we did not want him out. About that time the feds decided they would go ahead with their case and they asked us to relinquish Mr. Buck’s body so they could prosecute their case.”

Since federal prosecutors only had to prove that Buck furnished the drugs, not that he injected Moore or Dean and since could charge Buck with 20 years to life, with no bail, Lacey decided to turn Buck over to the feds.

“You will note though that the feds also had problems in the sense that originally in their complaint they said they had 10 victims, but when the grand jury indicted there were only five victims,” Lacey said. “Nevertheless, the case continues, and we are holding our case in the event they are not able to convict Mr. Buck. And that’s where that case stands.”

There were a number of unasked questions, such as what took Lacey so long to talk to the Black and LGBTQ  impacted communities after Gemmel Moore’s death. Though the Sheriff’s Department launched several investigations, they failed to share information and only glancingly offered sympathy for Moore’s mother and friends. With the dearth of accurate, fully-explained information, the community relied on the media and stories emerging from others involved with Ed Buck.

Some of those accounts were detailed, such as the coroner’s report in Moore’s death that noted the evidence tainted for prosecutors, including “24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue and burn marks, a plastic straw with possible white residue, clear plastic bags with white powdery residue and a clear plastic bag with a ‘piece of crystal-like substance,’” according to the LA Times. 

That Nov.  18, 2017 LA Times story also notes that a notebook had been collected by the coroner, which the paper reviewed. “Ed Buck is the one to thank,” Moore appears to have written, The Times wrote. “He gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth.”

Lacey also made no mention of whether the federal civil rights lawsuit filed against her and LA County by Gemmel Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, played any role in her decision to relinquish the case to federal prosecutors. Nor did she go into more about Buck’s finances regarding that $4 million that he apparently had to make bail and pay attorney Seymour Amster, who vigorously defended his client. Inexplicably, Buck apparently is now being represented by a public defender.

Lacey came prepared to specifically respond to Stonewall’s Resolution but she seemed unprepared for the encounter with angry family members of young Black men shot by law enforcement officers who screamed their agony at her, trying to hold her accountable, trying to get her to listen to them, to commiserate, to share their pain then take action.

In some ways, the Stonewall meeting was reminiscent of the early days of ACT UP when dying protesters or their loved ones screamed at blank-faced government bureaucrats who blandly explained that medications take a very long time to develop. At Stonewall, the Black Lives Matter families of murdered Black men screamed for justice and the prosecution of the officers involved in shooting their unarmed loved ones, calling out their names: Albert Ramon Dorsey. Grechario Mack. Ryan Twyman. Eric Rivera. Lee Jefferson. Christopher Deandre Mitchell.

Stonewall’s Wishon got Lacey to agree to meet publicly with the families and a small group from Black Lives Matter.

But Stonewall members voted to push Lacey even further in the conclusion of their non-binding Resolution:

“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED​ that the Stonewall Democratic Club recognizes that Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s actions and reports of alleged misconduct have eroded the trust of the public, the District Attorney Department’s governmental partners, and this body; we call upon District Attorney Jackie Lacey to take immediate actions to restore trust in her department and to meet publically with members of the black community, indigenous communities and the communities of color before the end of the calendar year or resign; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED ​this resolution shall be communicated to the members of the County Board of Supervisors and all elected individuals who have endorsed her 2020 re-election campaign,” the resolution reads.

Lacey has agreed to an interview with the Los Angeles Blade next week.

While Lacey has received a lot of notice and bad press around her handling of the Buck case – mentioned by gay veteran Deputy District Attorney Richard Ceballos as one reason he’s challenging her re-election – to most of LA County she appears as a tough-minded, no-nonsense career prosecutor. Even her critics give her props for her work in the area of mental health. A slew of elected officials – including out Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Assessor Jeff Prang, City Controller Ron Galprin, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia -have already endorsed her re-election on June 2, 2020.

Lacey would seem to be a shoe-in, except Ceballos, out Deputy District Attorney Joseph Iniguez and now former San Francisco city and county DA George Gascon are knocking hard on that door of inevitability.

And then there are the grieving mothers, the members of Black Lives Matter whose cries of “Jackie Lacey must go!” rocked that West Hollywood community room with anger, pain and sense of betrayal.

Lacey was elected in 2015 as LA County’s first woman and first African American DA and has garnered many accolades as a prominent member of the Black community. Honored by the mainstay LA Sentinel for Women’s History Month in March 2017, she told Managing Editor Brandon I. Brooks that after more than 30 years in the prosecutor’s office, she wants her legacy as DA to be “the best.”

“I want them to look at the wall of District Attorneys, I’m number 42, Jackie Robinson’s number,” she told Brooks. “I want them to say, ‘she was the best district attorney we had. We may have not realized it at the time, but she made changes….she was good for the L.A. county.’”

There were moments during the Stonewall meeting when the screaming would subside, as if there was still a modicum of respect for the high achievement made by this Black woman. But with the respect came a sadness, a sense of betrayal that Lacey did not seem to grasp the depth of emotion and despair at the persistent injustice and racism suffered and endured by these women who, it seemed, the top prosecutor with more than 30-years experience would rather just go away.

Lacey addressed the issue of excessive force by police officers and the apparent reluctance to prosecute officer-involved shootings because it was raised in the Stonewall resolution.

Lacey said:

“Since I’ve been DA we have filed cases against 79 officers. They involve on-duty and off-duty conduct. They include everything from wage theft and workers’ compensation to rape and murder. We have filed criminal cases that allege excessive force against 13 officers, including an LAPD officer by the name of Mary O’Callaghan.


We are currently prosecuting the first case filed for an officer-involved shooting in 20 years. These are challenging cases and we have gotten convictions through guilty pleas and guilty verdicts, but some of the cases have resulted in not guilty verdict. These cases are challenging, and these cases are challenging because it is difficult to convict an officer in these cases. We have reviewed the officer-involved shooting cases from 2016, 2017 and 2018. Maybe some of the information I give you-…”

And that’s when the meeting started going off the rails, with family BLM members calling out names –  Albert Ramon Dorsey and Grechario Mack killed in 2018.

“Can we please be respectful?” someone asked.

“You be respectful of these families whose loved one’s were killed by police. You shut up,” one leader responded. “To ask families whose loved ones have been killed by police to be polite while she sits here and lies in their faces is asking too much.”

“Justice for Ryan Twyman,” Twyman’s relative yelled as others joined in. “Shot at over 30 times.”

“By your police officers. I know you got that case. Even if it’s not on your desk, I know you’ve seen it, baby. 34 shots,” someone said. “Let’s talk about that. 2019 — but you know, you seen now, you seen it on the news, it hit your desk, you got a phone call. You know about it. Ryan Twyman. Address that.”

“Your Los Angeles sheriff officers who shot Ryan Twyman over 34 times, went back to the car reloading. I’m sure you’ve seen that video. Was that in you all policy and procedure? I think not. That’s how you all train your sheriff’s officers?”

The protesters quieted to let Lacey speak – but she just picked up where she left off.

“In 2016, there were 89 officer-involved shootings. 73 involved a person with a gun, a knife or a simulated weapon,” Lacey said, looking at her notes and just plowing through the presentation. “In 2017 there were 82 officer-involved shootings. 71 involved a person with a gun, a knife or a simulated weapon.”

“What’s a simulated weapon?” someone asked.

“A replica firearm,” Lacey said, barely acknowledging the interruption. “In 2018 there were 63 officer-involved shootings and 50 of them….”

“Eric Rivera,” a protester yelled.

“… involved a person with a gun, a knife and a simulated weapon,” Lacey continued.

“Right, Eric Rivera,” someone said.

“With regard to the officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. Since I’ve been DA, we have put up all of the documents, all of the information that we have available, to try to understand what happened,” Lacey said.  “I do have sympathy for the families of those who lost people to the hands of police. I do care. I do care. We are doing the absolute best we can, given the state of the law.”

The audience wanted her to discuss the deaths but she trudged on to answer the points raised by the resolution, closing with what seemed to be a pitch for her re-election, given her achievements in office.

“As the proud lawyer, I obtained the first race-based hate crime murder conviction in the state,” she said, urging Stonewall members “not to issue this resolution, but to look at the facts, follow the law and make sure that you have all of the information. The district attorney’s office, though not perfect, and I am not perfect, does an excellent job every day…”

“Is this a mea culpa?” someone asked.

“… of trying to make sure that the right thing is done for the right reasons,” she continued.  I have presented you with the facts and I ask you to carefully consider that,” thanking Stonewall for the opportunity to come speak to the group.

But the audience was not having it, arguing that Lacey has avoided speaking to the Black community.

“We have asked you for two years,” the BLM leader said, “to speak to the black community and you’ve run from us. We had to come all the way — more than half of this audience is Black people from South LA, from Compton, from Inglewood, who had to come all the way out here for you to face us. You told me directly you were afraid that we would yell at you. You signed up to be yelled at. That’s what your job is. You are an elected official and you are shushing people who are the families of people who’ve been killed by police that you refuse to prosecute. Lee Jefferson. How long ago was Lee killed?”

“The day before Thanksgiving, 2011, when officers riddled my son with bullets. 23 years old,” said Stephanie Jefferson.

The room hushed for a moment. Then, as Wishon tried to asked submitted questions, the tone got dark. Not aggressive, no hint of violence – but dark, pain deepened by too many long days of having been neglected.

“It’s racism that you come here and not to black communities. That’s racism. You are a black face on white supremacy. And you should ashamed of yourself,” said one protester.

“You know you see us outside your office on Wednesdays,” said another.“You need to address that. That’s not cool while these people are out here every single Wednesday, at your office because we want to know why our families are being murdered and you’re not arresting these officers?”

“I am here to restate Ryan Twyman was murdered for no reason. 34 shots, opened the back door. Assault rifles. That don’t make no sense. And you’re not going to address it. You’re not going to prosecute nobody. You’re not going to do nothing about it. You just going to stand up there and act like that’s not a problem. Like your sheriff is supposed to be doing that. That is not a policy and procedure,” said the leader, a relative of Ryan Twyman.

Some Stonewall members pushed back, saying this was not BLM’s meeting and they were disrespecting everyone else.

“Not trying to disrespect her,” the leader said. “In our defense, we’ve been trying to talk to her for a very long time. Sir, I understand where you’re coming from, and we’re not trying to disrespect your meeting, but this is our first time being able to see her and address her with our problems. That we have a problem. This is some serious shit.”

“Okay. I regret that I walked out of the town hall two years ago. I should have stayed and listened,” Lacey said. “And prior to that I had been meeting with groups in the community, and I must admit that back then I wish I had stayed. I don’t know whether it would have changed anything.”

“We gave you chances to do it again and you refused,” said a protester.

What I want is a dialogue. That’s all I’m asking for. I will listen, you can scream,” said Lacey, trailing off. “I am regularly in the black community.”

“Not in an open meeting,” said Twyman’s relative. “Stop lying. We offered you, we asked you for a forum and a dialogue two years ago. You called me. I still have the text messages. And the voicemails.”

“I am willing to meet, as long as we can sit down and have a dialogue. That’s all I’m asking,” Lacey said.

“You’re asking families to be polite to you,” said the leader.

“The last time we met I was not given an opportunity. I felt I was never…,” Lacey said.

“My brother wasn’t given a opportunity…..,” said the protester.

Lacey answered questions posed by Wishon with continued interruptions and comments. But it all came back to Lacey meeting with members of the Black community, perhaps at a public meeting hosted by a Democratic club in South LA.

Lacey agreed. Then she seemed to posit qualifications. “I want to make this offer one more time. Any victim — anyone who has had someone who has died in the hands of police, I’m making that offer. I’m willing to meet with individual families privately. I’m making that offer,” she said.

“No,” said a protester as another argued against a private meeting.

“Obviously you’re saying, ‘No thank you,’” Lacey said with a flash of snark.

“My brother was killed on the news. My kids are going to see that video,” argued a protester, to which Lacey replied that she didn’t put the video there.

After more back and forth, Lacey made another concession.  “All right. I will meet with families privately and I will also meet with Black Lives Matter, but I want it to be a smaller group,” Lacey said.

The group insisted on a totally public meeting.

And then came this question:  “When there is a situation with a civilian and officers are called, why are family members not allowed to help de-escalate the situation? Why are they kept away? And sometimes this turns into a big shooting.

“Only the police can answer that. I am not there when the shooting occurs and so I don’t think it’s right for me to give whatever the reasons are with regard to why that’s happening,” Lacey said.

“But you investigated. You signed off on it. So how come you can’t answer it? You investigated, you signed off. It’s your signature on the paperwork,” said the leader.

“We are not the lead investigating officers. We send our officers out there to look over…,” Lacey said before being interrupted. “The lead investigator are the internal affairs investigators who do the actual investigations. We have investigators, one investigator, one prosecutor, who show up at every officer-involved shooting and some in-custody deaths. We are not the lead agency in that particular matter.”

Lacey was explaining herself from the position of having spent 30 years in the prosecutor’s office.

Stephanie Jefferson, the mother of Lee Jefferson, responded with a mother’s eviscerated heart:

“I mean when it’s going down, when they had my son in that house, in the back house, hiding — how come they didn’t let his grandmother on that phone to talk to him? I was on my way there. He was killed less than an hour before I could even just talk to him. His grandmother was standing outside. Nobody could talk to him. They wouldn’t let no one talk to my son. They killed him. Murdered him…


They riddled him with bullets. 23 years old. You still have Kareem at home. I don’t have my son at home. You still have April. I don’t have that. He’s gone. Every day I have to live with this. I have to tell his daughter. His daughter knows the police killed him. His sisters know that. He has a lot of family. He has a lot of friends and he has a lot of people that love him. They tried to criminalize my son after the fact, to justify it, because they said he was a gang member. He didn’t ask to be killed…..


What is the negotiation tactic? There was no robot. There’s no tear gas to try to get him out if he posed a threat. How can someone pose a threat if they’re hiding?”

“I can’t disagree with you. I wasn’t there,” said Lacey.

“Well, if you can’t disagree, then why would you sign off? Why would you say that they were justified because he posed a threat to the public,” said Stephanie Jefferson. “He did not pose a threat to the public.”

“You were asking me about the tactics. I’m not going to argue with anyone who lost their son. I’m not,” Lacey said.

“You can’t. And you know what else they did? They also handcuffed him after he’s dead, with shots in his eyes and his heart, all over his body. How can he be handcuffed and his back be bruised from them stepping on him? Why step on a dead body?” Jefferson said.  “Why did the detective have to be at the coroner’s office when they do the autopsy? They know why he died. They know what bullet hit him. He got shot 14 times. Eight of those shots were fatal. The day before Thanksgiving.”

“So how can officers found out of policy not be held accountable for murder?” Wishon asked.

Lacey said:

“Out of policy is different from criminal liability. With regard to out of policy, the standard of proof for out of policy is much lower than for criminal behavior. With regard to criminal behavior, we have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt with evidence that the person is guilty of a crime. And so oftentimes, it is not unusual for someone to find that it’s out of policy but we may not be able to prove that the officer committed murder or manslaughter.


And that’s the difference. And there’s a lot of confusion about that. I can understand where the confusion comes from, but that’s the difference between out of policy and criminal behavior. With criminal, you have to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is guilty.”

But the officers, were “working the next day. Like come on Jackie, make this make sense, because you’re not making it make sense,” the leaders noted. “If this was your child, I would be doing the same thing in representation for you….We families out here, and we hurting.”

“You a cold, cold lady,” said one protester as the meeting was winding down. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

Lacey left shortly after Stonewall passed the resolution. None of the protesters followed her or tried to impede her path.

As she entered In the back of the room and outside when she left, Lacey was greeted by supporters, including longtime gay Democrat Ari Ruiz. The DA looked shaken, worn out, as if still grappling with why the rude protesters refused to give her the respect and deference usually afforded a woman of her station. Her demeanor seemed to say: If only they would let her explain how the law works. If only they realized that I really do care.

Inside, Cannick and other Stonewall members were shocked at how “disconnected” Lacey seemed from the community and the pain. Cannick said they intended to take the resolution to all the elected officials who’ve endorsed her for them to reconsider what seems like elected automatically endorsing another elected.

“Part of our approach at Stonewall is to hold our elected officials accountable – we endorse candidates who we believe will uphold our values of equality, justice, fairness, and respect for all. We are not a rubber stamp for incumbents who have not upheld those values,” Wishon told the Los Angeles Blade.

After looking at both the LA County Sheriff and the LA County DA and how their offices interact with the LGBTQ community and the greater LA County communities, “we found that we had questions and there seemed to be issues that ran counter to those values,” she said.

Stonewall wrote resolutions “calling upon the elected official to increase transparency, improve communication with the community, and restore the trust that had been lost,” and asked the elected to address those concerns. Both resolutions passed, but in the Sheriff’s case, the resolution was toned down while in Lacey’s case, the amendments asked her for action or to resign.

Wishon said this about the Stonewall meeting she facilitated:

“The pain and grief of the families who have lost their loved ones to officer-involved shootings was nearly overwhelming. Before the meeting I asked to be introduced to all the families – their pain is unimaginable for me, as a Mother. And their pain sometimes took verbal form – crying out to the DA for help in making sense of what had happened. They had serious questions, unanswerable questions at times, about why this had happened to their loved ones and why there was no justice.


For me, it was difficult to witness such raw pain and I felt it important to respect their grief and their loss by allowing them to express it. At the same time, we needed to hear the DA’s answers so it was a delicate balance between allowing the family members to speak and asking them to hold while the DA answered their questions. I do think it helped that we had the audience write questions that I read – I heard more than one family member say “That’s my question” with some pride and I hope it also brought some small bit of closure to them to hear their questions and concerns taken seriously by the Club and the DA.


The process last night was entirely separate from the endorsement process by intention. We will take up the DA race in January 2020.”

The Stonewall Resolution:


WHEREAS​ The Stonewall Democratic Club holds the elected officials we have endorsed to high standards in keeping with our values of equality and justice yet the trust in Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s department has been eroded by allegations of racial bias, unfairness, lack of communication, lack of public transparency and has failed to meet publically with members of the black community, indigenous communities and the communities of color; and


WHEREAS​ Jackie Lacey allegedly has mishandled and refused to press charges against Democratic donor Ed Buck for the 2017 death of Gemmel Moore and the 2019 death of Timothy Dean in Buck’s apartment claiming insufficient evidence​. ​She has repeatedly refused to take a tougher stance in prosecuting police officers and Sheriff deputies who use deadly force against unarmed civilians, particularly African-American and Latino people. Her office has not filed charges against an officer in an ​on-duty​ shooting in more than 15 years; and


WHEREAS​ voters in her constituency, Los Angeles County, have repeatedly rejected the death penalty at the ballot box and California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on the death penalty in March of 2019, putting a halt to all executions under his watch. Yet District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office has continued to seek the death penalty in capital trials sending 22 people to death row, every single one of the 22 people was a person of color.


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED​ that the Stonewall Democratic Club recognizes that Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s actions and reports of alleged misconduct have eroded the trust of the public, the District Attorney Department’s governmental partners, and this body; we call upon District Attorney Jackie Lacey to take immediate actions to restore trust in her department and to meet publically with members of the black community, indigenous communities and the communities of color before the end of the calendar year or resign; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED ​this resolution shall be communicated to the members of the County Board of Supervisors and all elected individuals who have endorsed her 2020 re-election campaign.


Authored by
Jasmyne Cannick, Member, Stonewall Democratic Club
Dr. John Erickson, Legislative Action Chair, Stonewall Democratic Club Jane Wishon, Political Vice President

Adopted October 28, 2019



Los Angeles

Tens of thousands at LA Pride Parade & Block Party in Hollywood

The parade was hosted by “Good Morning America” weekend co-anchor Gio Benitez and ABC7 anchor Ellen Leyva. ABC7 broadcast the parade live.



KABC interviews actor George Takei's (seated on trunk lid) husband Brad Takei at LA Pride Parade on Sunday. Takei and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley served as grand marshals of the 2024 LA Pride Parade in Hollywood. (Screenshot/KABC 7)

LOS ANGELES – The 54th annual LA Pride Parade kicked off Sunday morning as tens of thousands of Angelenos and visitors took over the streets of Hollywood, continuing a two-day celebration of Pride Month 2024.

Broadcast live and online by KABC 7, The band Mariachi Arcoiris kicked off the 2024 LA Pride Parade with a rousing performance in Hollywood.

KABC also caught up with grand marshal and “Star Trek” legend George Takei accompanied by his husband Brad Takei.

The parade began at 11 a.m. at Highland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, then headed north on Highland, east on Hollywood Boulevard, south on Cahuenga Boulevard and back to Sunset.

Takei, who served as the Icon Grand Marshal told KABC: “As someone who has witnessed the struggles and triumphs of our community over the years, I am filled with gratitude for the progress we have made and inspired to continue the fight for full acceptance and equality for all.” 

Takei’s husband Brad compared him to the late Betty White joking about the actor being 87 years old having just had a birthday this past Spring.

KABC noted that Professional wrestler Cassandro, El Exotico served as the Legacy Grand Marshal, while Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley — the agency’s first openly gay chief — was the Community Grand Marshal.

“These individuals epitomize this year’s theme of Power in Pride,’ not just through their own achievements, but through their unwavering commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and visibility,” Gerald Garth, board president of event sponsor Christopher Street West, said in a statement. “As this year’s grand marshals, they embody the essence of empowerment, showing us that our differences are not obstacles but sources of strength. Together, they inspire us to embrace our identities, break barriers.”

In an interview with the Los Angeles Blade on Friday, Los Angeles City Fire Department Chief Kristin M. Crowley expressed her excitement about participating in the LA Pride Parade this Sunday.

“This feels like a whole other level, especially being part of the parade as a grand marshal of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” she said. “It’s very humbling. I have been proud to participate in the pride parade over the past few years, but this is extra special—being able to be out front and represent the department and our community as a whole.”

The parade was hosted by “Good Morning America” weekend co-anchor Gio Benitez and ABC7 anchor Ellen Leyva. ABC7 broadcast the parade live.

The LA Pride Block Party followed the parade beginning at noon and continuing until 8 p.m. on Hollywood Boulevard between Vine and Gower streets. The free event included vendor and information booths, a beer garden, food trucks and live entertainment.

Additional reporting by KABC 7 LA

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Los Angeles

LAFD Chief Kristin M. Crowley is a LA Pride Parade grand marshal

The Out LAFD Chief will lead department personnel in the LA Pride Parade this Sunday June 9, with the theme “Power in Pride”



City of Los Angeles Fire Chief Kristin Crowley (center) & Chief Deputy of Emergency Operations John Drake, (back row far left) visit firefighters assigned to Fire Station 29 in Hancock Park. (Photo Credit: LAFD)

LOS ANGELES – In an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Blade, Los Angeles City Fire Department Chief Kristin M. Crowley expressed her excitement about participating in the LA Pride Parade this Sunday.

“This feels like a whole other level, especially being part of the parade as a grand marshal of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” she said. “It’s very humbling. I have been proud to participate in the pride parade over the past few years, but this is extra special—being able to be out front and represent the department and our community as a whole.”

A firefighter of over 25 years who took the oath of office on March 25, 2022, Chief Crowley leads a diverse team of approximately 3,400 sworn personnel and over 350 civilians. Her leadership extends across the vast and varied landscape of Los Angeles, where the LAFD responds to over 1,300 emergency calls daily.

(Photo Credit: LAFD)

Chief Crowley emphasized the importance of visibility and community support, especially in the current political climate.

“The political environment right now definitely heightens my sensitivity to the issue, and visibility is even more important. What I love about the pride parade, especially from the lens of being in the parade, is that you get to see the joy light up in people’s eyes and feel all the support… I especially love seeing families who come out to support our community. People are showing up. It’s purposeful action; they are showing up to celebrate pride.”

Chief Crowley has been with her wife for 20 years, and together they have three teenage daughters. Her wife, a retired firefighter, met Crowley on the job. Their family’s support has been a cornerstone of her journey, both personally and professionally. While Chief Crowley told The Blade that she feels supported in her life as a queer wife and mother of three, her journey to this moment has not been without challenges.

“I was not comfortable in my skin for a long time,” she said. “It took several years at the department for me to come out. Being able to be visible, comfortable in my skin, and represent who I am is significant. People at the department were supportive of my coming out, and now I can be open about my marriage and my family.”

In addition to her role as Fire Chief, Crowley has been instrumental in the LAFD’s youth development programs and various leadership roles within the department.

She has served on the executive boards of the Chief Officers’ Association and The Women in the Fire Service, chaired the Fire Code Committee for Los Angeles, and is an instructor and facilitator at the Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academy.

As she prepares to march in the pride parade, Chief Crowley looks forward to participating in a celebration she has long held dear. “I take this as a humongous honor and can’t wait to be able to celebrate with everyone on Sunday,” she said.

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Los Angeles

RuPaul’s Drag Race Queens hit the Beverly Center

100% of the proceeds from OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev will be donated to OUTWORDS, a LA local nonprofit organization



OUTLOUD presents Pride @ Bev - Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

By Mike Pingel | LOS ANGELES – The second annual OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev event hit the Beverly Center at 8500 Beverly Boulevard this Saturday for an afternoon of pride experiences with a discussion and special drag performances by Alyssa Edwards, Plane Jane, Laganja Estranja, and Plastique Tiara.

Pride @ Bev offered plenty of freebies, photo ops, and interactive activities like Drag Bingo hosted by Athena Kills, a Beauty Demo hosted by MakeUp Forever, and a Glam Station by Sephora. There were also Photo Moments, a VIP Lounge with bar and bites, and a chance to spin a Beverly Center Wheel for a chance to win VIP passes to the OUTLOUD Music Festival and WeHo Pride. VIP is completely sold out. The only way to get these passes now is to win them.

100% of the proceeds from OUTLOUD Presents Pride @ Bev will be donated to OUTWORDS, a LA local nonprofit organization that captures, preserves, and shares the stories of LGBTQIA2S+ elders to build community and catalyze social change.

OUTLOUD presents Pride @ Bev – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
OUTLOUD presents Pride @ Bev – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

OUTLOUD presents Pride @ Bev – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

OUTLOUD Music Festival, created by Jeff Consoletti, launched in 2020 as a ten-episode series on Facebook in lieu of Pride Celebrations happening in cities across the country due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, quickly becoming one of the first major virtual LGBTQ+ showcases.

Since its debut, OUTLOUD garnered over nearly two billion media impressions and won several industry-topping awards including multiple SHORTY Awards for Best Use of Facebook and Best Use of Twitch, a MARCOM Award & a Cynopsis Digital Award for BEST LGBTQ Series.

Follow @OfficiallyOUTLOUD #WeAreOUTLOUD.

The Beverly Center:

Located at the edge of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, Beverly Center features the best in luxury and contemporary retail, along with delectable street level restaurants with everything from modern fresh favorites to fast-casual eateries. Home to over 90 stores, all beneath an impressive skyline, Beverly Center is anchored by Bloomingdale’s & Macy’s and is home to L.A.’s largest collection of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Saint Laurent, Ferragamo, and trending fashion brands including Mango, Zara and H&M.

For more information, visit


Mike Pingel

Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist.

His official website is


The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Los Angeles

LA Pride Parade announces grand marshals, KABC 7 to broadcast

The parade route begins at Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue ending at Sunset and Cahuenga boulevards in Hollywood



Actor George Takei, wrestler Cassandro El Exotico and LAFD Chief Kristin Crowley will serve as grand marshals of the 2024 LA Pride Parade. (Photo montage: LA Blade)

LOS ANGELES – Actor George Takei, wrestler Cassandro El Exotico and LAFD Chief Kristin Crowley will serve as grand marshals of the 2024 LA Pride Parade, LA Pride has announced.

The 2024 LA Pride Parade and block party is slated for Sunday, June 9, in Hollywood, and ABC7 is returning as the official broadcast and streaming partner.

According to KABC 7 the parade will have three grand marshals. Takei is designated the “Icon Grand Marshal.” As an actor he was most known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” series and films. But he is also an accomplished activist for social justice and LGBTQ+ causes.

“To be recognized in this way by the LGBTQ+ community, an extraordinary group of individuals who have fought tirelessly for equality, is truly overwhelming. As someone who has witnessed the struggles and triumphs of our community over the years, I am filled with gratitude for the progress we have made and inspired to continue the fight for full acceptance and equality for all,” Takei said in a statement.

Cassandro El Exotico is designated the “Legacy Grand Marshal.” Born Saul Armendariz, he is known as a Mexican professional wrestler known for breaking barriers in the world of lucha libre by embracing his openly gay identity in the ring. The film “Cassandro” about his life starring Gael Garcia Bernal was released last year.

Crowley will serve as the “Community Grand Marshal.” She was named Los Angeles Fire Department chief in March 2022, becoming the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the position.

ABC7 will broadcast the 54th annual LA Pride Parade on June 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The coverage will be hosted by Ellen Leyva and “Good Morning America” weekend co-anchor Gio Benitez, with David Gonzalez, Sophie Flay and Karl Schmid reporting from the parade route.

Graphic via LA Pride

The parade route begins at Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue heading north, then east onto Hollywood Boulevard, then south onto Cahuenga Boulevard, ending at Sunset and Cahuenga boulevards.

After the parade, the LA Pride Block Party starts at 12 p.m. on Hollywood Boulevard.

Latin superstar Ricky Martin was previously announced as the headliner for the Pride in the Park festival the night before the parade, Saturday, June 8.

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Los Angeles

LA’s lost an iconic entertainment reporter, Sam Rubin dies at 64

Rubin was a longtime fixture in the entertainment landscape beloved by celebrities and the public alike & spending his career solely at KTLA



Sam Rubin (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

LOS ANGELES – A beloved and respected member of the entertainment press corps in Southern California, KTLA’s Sam Rubin, died Friday morning at the age of 64 after suffering a fatal cardiac arrest.

A source close to the station confirmed to Variety that Rubin died at his home in Brentwood of a heart attack after doing his regular Hollywood news segments on KTLA’s 7-9 a.m. “Morning News” program on Friday.

Rubin was a longtime fixture in the entertainment landscape beloved by celebrities and the public alike and with the rarity of spending his professional career solely at KTLA.

In a statement to Variety, Perry Sook, chairman and CEO of Nexstar, called the entertainment news anchor “an icon” for the region and the industry.

“Sam was an icon in Los Angeles and the entertainment industry and he was a beloved member of our Nexstar Nation. My prayers are with his family and the KTLA family as we mourn his passing. He will be missed.”

KTLA reported:

Rubin joined KTLA 5 Morning News in Los Angeles in 1991, where he instantly made an impact with his unmatched, encyclopedic knowledge of film and television. Over the years, his reports and interviews informed and entertained millions of television viewers in L.A. and beyond.

“The Sam that you saw on the air is the Sam that was off the air,” Rubin’s longtime colleague and friend Frank Buckley said in announcing his passing on live television. “To all of us he shared his mornings with on television, and to those he worked with behind the scenes at KTLA, we will not forget him.”

According to his KTLA biography:

Since joining the show in 1991, he has established a reputation as someone who goes beyond the entertainment headlines of the day. His insights and exploration of the deeper meaning and impact of the stories within the entertainment industry generate conversation within the business, as well as outside it.

Sam is a multiple-Emmy winner; has received the Golden Mike Award for best entertainment reporter; has received a lifetime achievement award from the Southern California Broadcasters Association; and has been named best entertainment reporter by the Los Angeles Press Club.

Sam was honored by the National Hispanic Media Coalition with its 2013 Impact Award for outstanding integrity in broadcast journalism.

He is the author of two published books, and has seen his work published in both print and online around the world. Sam regularly appears on BBC television and radio in the United Kingdom, and is a regular contributor to Triple M radio and Channel 9 television network in Australia.

Sam is one of the founding members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest organization of film and television critics in the United States with more than 200 members. In 1996, the BFCA began the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, now regarded in the same tier as the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. The 2013 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, hosted by Sam, was seen in more than 2 million homes, making it the No. 1 rated show in Los Angeles and other major cities. It was also the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter that evening and generated more than 500 million impressions online.

Sam is the owner of SRE, Inc., a television production company that has produced more than 200 hours of broadcast and cable programming, including several “Live From” red carpet shows and 120 episodes of the talk show “Hollywood Uncensored.”

Off the air, Sam supports various non-profit organizations including putting together a KTLA team for the annual MS 150 Bay to Bike Tour, the premiere cycling event in Southern California raising funds to find a cure for multiple sclerosis. He also is interested in revitalizing Los Angeles schools, including support for literacy programs and events such as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Sam received his Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies and rhetoric at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Sam lived in Brentwood with his wife Leslie and their four children.

Sam’s son, Colby, joined KTLA 5 Morning News on Monday, May 13, 2024 to reflect on his father’s passing and share a message to him.

Celebrating KTLA 5 Morning News’ 30th anniversary with Sam Rubin:

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Los Angeles

Los Angeles Tourism joins with LGBTQ+ folks to celebrate Pride

LA Pride returns, promising an incredible lineup of events, including LA Pride in the Park headlined by Ricky Martin



Photo Credit: Discover Los Angeles/LA Tourism Board

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Tourism will join the 54th annual LA Pride festivities this June through its support of the organization and its annual lineup of events. LA Pride stands as one of the largest Pride celebrations in the United States and the world.

Throughout LA Pride, local Angelenos and travelers can secure a nearby hotel with the best available rates and enjoy welcome amenities, discounts and more at select properties.

“LA Pride beautifully captures the spirit of our City of Angels with its focus on unity, inclusivity, and self-expression,” said Adam Burke, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “We are incredibly proud to invite both our fellow Angelenos as well as travelers from around the world to join us in celebrating our LGBTQ+ community.”

LA Pride returns, promising an incredible lineup of events, including LA Pride in the Park headlined by Ricky Martin, the LA Pride Parade & Block Party on Hollywood Boulevard, LGBTQ+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium and PRIDE is Universal


LA Pride in the Park will take place on Saturday, June 8, 2024 across more than 20 acres of lush green space at LA State Historic Park. The event will feature dozens of local and LGBTQ+ vendors, a huge variety of food & beverage, beer gardens and a special lineup. The global icon Ricky Martin will headline LA Pride in the Park, with additional artists to be unveiled. As the first openly gay Latin artist to take center stage at LA Pride, this also marks Martin’s first-ever headliner Pride performance, anywhere.

The series of events during LA Pride includes the iconic LA Pride Parade which will be held on Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Hollywood Boulevard Area. Over 150 contingents will march this year, using the theme “Power in Pride.” The route will be along Hollywood Blvd, and surrounding streets. Those who can’t make it in person are able to watch a live broadcast on ABC7.

“LA Pride radiates a vibrant tapestry of acceptance, unity, and celebration year-round,” shared Gerald Garth, Board President, LA Pride/Christopher Street West. “It’s a testament to our city’s unwavering commitment to embrace diversity and foster an inclusive spirit that transcends boundaries.”

Additional top events during LA Pride include LA Pride in The Park, Parade Block Party, LGBTQ+ Night at Dodger Stadium and Pride is Universal. Read on for details on top events and hotel deals throughout Pride.

For more information about how to celebrate Pride in Los Angeles, visit


LA Pride in The Park – June 8th

Returning to LA State Historic Park for a talented music line-up, dozens of food trucks, sponsor giveaways and activities and much more. LA Pride in The Park takes place on Saturday, June 8th. It’s all happening on over 20 acres of lush green space with a view of the DTLA skyline. Ricky Martin will headline LA Pride in the Park, with additional artists to be unveiled. Tickets can be purchased here.

Parade Block Party – June 9th

Don’t forget the fun Parade Block Party on June 9th, a free Block Party adjacent to the Parade, open from mid-day and going into the evening. With a performance stage, large vendor village, food, pop-up bars, and more. Last year, 35,000 people enjoyed this free Parade “after-party,” don’t miss it! Talent and other announcements coming soon!

LGBTQ+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium – June 14th

Come watch the Dodgers take on the Kansas City Royals with LA Pride pre-game festivities featuring DJ party, and Pride merch for special ticket holders, only available at

Pride is Universal – June 15th

Our exclusive after-hours theme park takeover is a fan favorite. Pride is Universal will feature live DJs, Universal character meet-and-greets, photo ops, and more, with musical guests, drag performers and all new elements for this year.  Hours, details, and new features to be announced. Tickets go on sale soon.


Visitors coming to Los Angeles to celebrate Pride from June 8-11 can “Stay and Slay” with a collection of hotel offers specially curated by Los Angeles Tourism to welcome revelers from around the world. Highlighted hotel offers are listed out below.

Dream Hollywood Hotel

Tucked among the scenic Hollywood Hills, Dream Hollywood boasts 178 playfully sophisticated guest rooms with subtle nods to the mid-century modern aesthetic iconic to LA. Featuring accommodations with unparalleled views, Tao, Beauty & Essex, and The Highlight Room, one of the LA’s swankiest rooftop pools. Book the best available rate here.

The Godfrey Hotel Hollywood

Exuding the energy of old Hollywood and walking distance to Sunset Blvd, the new Godfrey Hotel features one of the largest rooftops in Los Angeles, four on-site bars, various indoor-outdoor event spaces and About Last Knife, an energetic, chef-driven gastropub-meets-steakhouse. LA Pride Staycation: Celebrate love with The Godfrey and receive 15% off the best available rate here.

Hollywood Hotel – The Hotel of Hollywood

Contemporary accommodations meet quintessential Hollywood glamour at Hollywood Hotel. From a sparkling pool to the Route 66 Bistro Bar & Lounge, the historic Hollywood Hotel reflects classic movie star style in every sense. Visit hotel site for best available rate here.

The Hollywood Roosevelt

The Hollywood Roosevelt is a complete lifestyle destination, fusing entertainment, art, culture, design and music all around the property while providing a glimpse at its storied past. Visit hotel site for best available rate here.

Kimpton Everly Hollywood

Kimpton Everly Hollywood is a breath of fresh air in the midst of one of the world’s most storied neighborhoods. The sophisticated Hollywood Hills-infused residential vibe invites lingering and intimate interaction in the café, living room and skyline pool area. Book the hotel’s best available rate here.

Loews Hollywood Hotel

Loews Hollywood Hotel rises 20 floors above the famed intersection of Hollywood and Highland. Spectacular views of the iconic Hollywood sign and Los Angeles cityscape set the stage for 628 rooms including 113 spacious suites, as well as the rooftop pool. *Use CODE: PRIDE to receive 2 comp cocktails at H2 Kitchen & Bar and complimentary upgrade to a suite. Website here.

Mama Shelter

Designed by Thierry Gaugain to honor the beauty of the SoCal landscape, Mama Shelter LA features five floors of uniquely decorated rooms, each a cozy haven in itself. 70 rooms have king-size beds decked out in 5* linen – fit for a movie star! The hotel boasts one of LA’s best rooftop bars, while dining options will appeal to carnivores and vegans alike. View hotel site for best available rate here.

Sheraton Universal

Nestled below the Hollywood Hills, the Sheraton Universal Hotel is just steps away from Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk. Unwind at the poolside lounge or be dazzled with a 270-degree view of Hollywood from the 20-foot windows of the rooftop Starview Room. Book the hotel’s best available rate here.

Thompson Hollywood

Thompson Hollywood is a luxurious new hotel that brings elevated service, and laidback California cool to the heart of Hollywood. The hotel features 190 sophisticated guest rooms and 16 suites, a rooftop pool with sweeping views of Los Angeles, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The world-class culinary and nightlife destinations include the rooftop lounge Bar Lis, chef Lincoln Carson’s French-inspired Mes Amis, and The Terrace, which pairs European fare with Californian views. Use CODE: STAYPROUD to receive best available rate + bottle of wine + 10% donation to Hollywood LGBT Center. Website here.

Tommie Hollywood

Get comfy in a California way, at Tommie Hollywood. There’s a stylish rooftop pool, fitness center, and a terrace bar in the heart of Los Angeles. This 4-star hotel includes the latest restaurant by award winning chef, Wes Avila, Ka’teen. Use code: STAYPROUD to book the best available rate and receive a welcome amenity and bottle of wine, plus a 10% donation to Hollywood LGBT Center here.

W Hollywood Hotel & Residences

Welcome to the new Hollywood. W Hollywood brings together the magnetic spirit of the Golden Era, infused with epic innovation, elegance and excitement. Welcome backstage, where W guests are insiders in the vivacity of the spotlight. Receive 10% off hotel stay plus welcome amenity. Website here.

When you’re not celebrating LA pride at the parade or many events around the city, celebrate by visiting one of the many LGBTQ+ owned restaurants around Los Angeles. Start off in Casita Del Campo in Silverlake for Mexican dishes, make a stop Liberation Coffee House for a latte and end the night at n/naka which was featured in Season 1 of Netflix’s Chef’s Table. n/naka is your ultimate destination for fine Japanese cuisine. View the full guide to LGBTQ owned restaurants in LA here.

For more information, visit, follow at, or @discoverLA on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

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Los Angeles

Ricky Martin will be the headliner for 2024 LA Pride in the Park

LA Pride in the Park will return to the Los Angeles State Historic Park on Saturday, June 8. Across 20 acres with a capacity for 25,000



Photo Credit: Ricky Martin/WeHoTimes

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – Ricky Martin is headlining LA Pride 2024 at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Christopher Street West Association (CSW) – the 501(c)3 nonprofit that has produced the iconic LA Pride celebration for more than 50 years – announced this week.

In a press release CSW stated that global icon Ricky Martin will headline LA Pride in the Park, with additional artists to be unveiled. As the first openly gay Latin artist to take center stage at the highly-anticipated Pride event of the year, this marks Martin’s first-ever headliner Pride performance.

LA Pride in the Park will return to the Los Angeles State Historic Park on Saturday, June 8. Across 20 acres and with a capacity for 25,000, LA Pride in the Park is one of the most sought-after and largest Official Pride concerts in the country. Additionally, the official theme for this year’s Pride season is “Power in Pride,” which celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community’s ability to live authentically.

General Admission and VIP Passes are now available to purchase at

“I am thrilled to be headlining LA Pride in the Park because it’s an incredible opportunity to celebrate love, diversity, and equality,” said Martin. “LA Pride is a testament to the power of community, the power of visibility, and the power of standing up for our rights. Being part of this vibrant community fills me with pride and purpose.”

“With his electrifying stage presence and chart-topping hits, Ricky Martin has long been an inspiration to millions around the world,” said Gerald Garth, board president of CSW/LA Pride. “His participation in LA Pride in the Park goes beyond mere entertainment; it symbolizes a powerful affirmation of queer Latin identity and a celebration of diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. We cannot wait to be ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ while beaming with Pride!”

Ricky Martin, a global music icon, is a multi-talented artist known for his accomplishments as a singer, songwriter, actor and author. He has won multiple GRAMMY® Awards and is considered one of the most influential superstars in history, often referred to as the “King of Latin Pop.” Throughout his nearly four-decade career, Martin brought Latin music and culture to the mainstream, paving the way for crossover talent.

Born in Puerto Rico, Martin gained fame as a member of the popular Latin American band Menudo before embarking on a successful solo career. Notably, he became the first Latin American male to star in a MAC Viva Glam Campaign, raising significant funds for HIV/AIDS research. With over 180 awards, including two GRAMMY® and four Latin GRAMMY® Awards, Martin made history and has been recognized as the youngest-ever “Person of the Year” by the Latin Recording Academy.

He is also an accomplished actor, earning an EMMY® nomination for his role in FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” and displaying his talent on Broadway. He starred in “Jingle Jangle” for Netflix, opposite Forest Whitaker, Anika Noni Rose and Hugh Bonneville and can now be seen in the highly lauded Apple TV series “Palm Royale” alongside Laura Dern, Kristen Wiig, Allison Janney and Carol Burnett.

Beyond his artistic achievements, Martin is a dedicated philanthropist. He established the Ricky Martin Foundation, which actively fights against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. As a Global Ambassador for UNICEF, he has provided significant support to communities affected by natural disasters.

Martin has received numerous humanitarian awards, including the Hispanic Federation’s “Humanitarian Award” and the Human Rights Campaign’s “National Visibility Award.” In recognition of his contributions, the City of New York declared “Ricky Martin Day” to honor his artistic legacy and philanthropic work.

Information about parking, transportation, safety, security, medical support, participating vendors, and further programming will be available soon.

For sponsorship and other talent inquiries, contact LA Pride at [email protected]. For more information, follow @lapride on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.


Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

The preceding article was previously published at WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Los Angeles

LA leaders call for unity & protection for trans community

LAPD has noted a 13 percent increase in overall hate crimes, with LGBTQ+ specific hate crimes up by 33 percent



LAPD Deputy Chief Ruby Flores speaks to reporters during a April 15, 2024 press conference. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

LOS ANGELES – Addressing a concerning escalation of threats against LGBTQ+ organizations throughout the country, leaders from TransLatin@ Coalition, the Los Angeles Police Department, and other officials gathered in a press conference to denounce acts of intimidation and to call for unity and protective measures for the trans and queer community.

A bomb threat called in to the LAPD on March 28, aimed at the TransLatin@ Coalition specifying today April 15 as the target date, has prompted an immediate and ongoing response from local authorities to ensure the safety of those at the coalition’s facilities and others. The LAPD has since been closely monitoring the site. 

The suspect, identified as Henry Nolkemper, a white 61 year old male, was arrested by LAPD shortly afterward after being observed entering his residence on West 53rd Street. The police then searched his residence. Despite the absence of explosives, he was booked under serious charges including criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement.

Nolkemper, known to have a history of mental health issues, was on parole for previous threats to the community. His parole has since been revoked and he is currently held on a one million dollar bail.

The press conference today began with remarks from Robin Toma, Executive Director of LA vs Hate, who highlighted the organization’s role as the third largest source of hate crime reporting in Los Angeles, trailing only police sources.

He also stated that LA vs Hate has reported a troubling increase in trans-specific crimes, noting that such incidents are grossly underreported, a sentiment echoed by surveys within the trans community.

Robin Toma, Executive Director of LA vs Hate, Bamby Salcedo at the podium speaking, LAPD Assistant Chief Blake Chow, & Capri Maddox, Executive Director, City of LA Civil + Human Rights & Equity Dept. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of TLC, expressed her gratitude for the continued support from various partners and emphasized the daily challenges faced by transgender individuals. “Every day a trans woman steps out of her home, it is a revolutionary act. We are people who walk with targets on our backs,” Salcedo declared, setting a tone of resilience and defiance against the threats.

Special thanks were given to Supervisor Hilda Solis and Jury Candelario, a partner from APAIT and a Filipino immigrant, who marked 35 years in America by calling the trans-related stress “chronic” in his long tenure as a social worker. Esther Lim, representing Supervisor Solis, condemned the bomb threat as an act of “cowardice” and highlighted Solis’ support through a previous $55,000 contribution to TLC and a new motion to establish LA’s first LGBTQ+ commission.

Assistant Chief Blake Chow and Deputy Chief Ruby Flores of the LAPD provided updates on the legal actions following the threat. They noted a 13 percent increase in overall hate crimes, with LGBTQ+ specific hate crimes up by 33 percent. “Behind each hate crime, there is a victim, there are families,” Flores said, urging the community to report incidents and support anti-hate education initiatives.  “These crimes affect people in ways statistics can’t reflect.” 


The press conference also featured voices from the community like Mariana Marroquin, Associate Director of Trans Wellness, who spoke passionately about the ingrained nature of hate experienced by trans individuals from a young age, and Cari Maddox, who emphatically stated, “Hate has no home in Los Angeles.”

Mark Bayard, representing Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, affirmed the DA’s commitment to fighting hate crimes vigorously, especially in light of the upcoming election season, which often sees a spike in such incidents.

As the community grapples with this latest threat, the message from today’s conference was clear: solidarity, education, and legal protection are key to combating hate and fostering a society where transgender people can integrate fully and safely.

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Los Angeles

24-year-old trans Latina Angeleno & makeup artist shot to death

“This incident has prompted renewed calls for legislative action to address gun control and protect marginalized groups from violence”



Meraxes Medina/Instagram

LOS ANGELES – In a tragic incident that has shaken the community and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, Meraxes Medina, a 24-year-old transgender Latina and makeup artist, was fatally shot in Los Angeles on March 21.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Medina was found dead on the road in South Los Angeles. The LAPD said she was shot in the head and that there was evidence she was also struck by a vehicle. Friends and family have confirmed Medina’s identity, celebrating her life and mourning her untimely death, which marks another violent act against transgender individuals.

Medina, known for her work at Universal Studios and her vibrant presence on social media, had begun hormone therapy and was navigating life as an undocumented person who had faced homelessness. Despite these challenges, those close to her remembered her for her potential and the positive impact she had on those around her. Friends have expressed their grief and shock, emphasizing Medina’s kindness, talent, and the bright future they believed she deserved.

The circumstances surrounding Medina’s death reflect a larger pattern of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color. Advocacy groups have highlighted the disproportionate impact of gun violence on transgender individuals, noting that a significant percentage of homicides within this community involve firearms.

The incident has prompted renewed calls for legislative action to address gun control and protect marginalized groups from violence.

California chapters of groups with Everytown for Gun Safety released a statement underscoring Medina was at least the third transgender person killed by gun violence in the U.S.

“We cannot ignore the disproportionate impact of gun violence on our transgender and gender-expansive neighbors, especially its impact on Black trans women and trans Latinas. We must honor Meraxes’ legacy by continuing to fight to protect our transgender and gender-expansive communities not only in California, but across the country,” said Ashley Castillo, a student leader with Students Demand Action and National Organizing Board Member.

As the investigation continues, Medina’s death serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for a societal shift to ensure the safety and dignity of all individuals, regardless of gender identity. “The loss of Meraxes Medina is not only a tragedy for those who knew her but also a call to action to combat hate and violence against the transgender community,” said one activist.

“Meraxes was a young woman who deserved to live out a long and fulfilling life. At just 24-years-old, she had so much more to give. Yet again, we find ourselves honoring the life and mourning the loss of someone from our transgender community killed by gun violence, and that alarming reality should emphasize our collective need to fight against lax gun laws. We need to come together and remind everyone, especially lawmakers and politicians, that our lives are worth saving and worth living,” said Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.

Bamby Salcedo, President/CEO of The TransLatin@ Coalition, issed the following statement:  “It’s unfortunate that our sister Meraxes Medina had to perish to the ignorance and violence that we continue to experience as a community, and these are just another examples of what our lives are, and we want to ensure that we hold elected officials accountable for bettering our lives and our future.”

KABC 7 reported between 2017 and 2023, there were 263 reported homicides of transgender people in the U.S., according to the organization. A gun was used in 193 of them.

In California, there were 14 homicides of transgender people reported between 2018 and 2024 so far, and 37% were in Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles

LAPD monitoring threats against TransLatin@ Coalition

“These acts of violence underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us”



Los Angeles Police Department vehicles responding to a call for service. (Los Angeles Blade/LAPD file photo)

LOS ANGELES – In a concerning escalation of threats against LGBTQIA+ organizations throughout the country, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirmed that a bomb threat was called in to the department on March 28, aimed at the TransLatin@ Coalition (TLC), a vanguard organization for Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGI) Latinx communities.

The threat, specifying April 15 as the target date, has prompted an immediate and ongoing response from local authorities to ensure the safety of those at the coalition’s facilities. The LAPD has since been closely monitoring the site. 

This recent threat comes at a time when the TLC, alongside other organizations within the LGBTQIA+ community, faces increasing hostility, underscored by a series of bomb threats and hate mail aimed at destabilizing the work and well-being of TGI Latinx individuals.

In response to the threat, Bamby Salcedo, the President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition has amplified security measures at TLC and reinforced the importance of emergency preparedness among the staff, emphasizing the coalition’s dedication to fostering a secure and supportive environment despite the daunting challenges posed by such threats.

The bomb threats have been accompanied by hate mail, filled with vitriolic anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and attacks on the Democratic Party, aimed at undermining the coalition’s mission and intimidating its leadership, including Salcedo and Vice President/COO Maria Roman Taylorson.

Despite these attempts to sow fear, the TransLatin@ Coalition stands firm in its mission. “We refuse to be silenced or intimidated,” Salcedo said.

The organization continues to call for unity and action, urging the public to stand in solidarity with TGI communities, report threats or violence, and advocate for greater acceptance and understanding of TGI identities.

The coalition’s commitment to the rights, empowerment, and well-being of TGI Latinx individuals in the United States remains unwavering. Through advocacy, education, and community organizing, the TLC addresses the unique challenges and systemic injustices faced by this community, emphasizing the intersectionality of race and economic status.

As the TLC navigates through these trying times, they have also taken to social media to call for support and positivity, highlighting the unexpected financial strain of heightened security measures. 

This recent threat against the TLC occurs amidst a broader climate of heightened animosity towards the LGBTQIA+ community, as reported by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The HRC’s documentation of fatal violence against transgender and gender-expansive individuals in 2024 alone paints a grim picture of the dangers faced by the community.

“These acts of violence and discrimination underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us,” HRC noted.

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