Larry T. Baza believed in art as advocacy for social justice. He first joined our board in 1990 and in 1992 became our organization’s first Latino co-chair. At the same time, Vertez Burks became our first Black co-chair. It was the first time San Diego Pride was led by people of color.
Together, they brought greater attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly around the music and arts at our annual Pride Festival. Shortly after they took leadership roles with Pride a new multicultural stage was added to the Festival’s footprint, which by 2006 would become two distinct stages now called The Movement, which highlights Black music and culture, and Mundo Latino, which showcases the vibrancy of our region’s diverse Latinx community. Most recently in 2019, an API Night Market was added to the Festival footprint, and this year the area will be expanding even more to have performances, art, and resources.
In addition to each of these groups having intentional spaces at our Pride Festival in July as we celebrate LGBTQ people through the lens of rich and diverse culture, each group will be hosting Pride events in June throughout the city of San Diego. QTAPI week will be a week-long celebration of LGBTQ AAPI identity and experience. Latinx Pride will take place in Barrio Logan with food, art, music, and dance. Black Pride will have events in Downtown San Diego and the heart of Hillcrest celebrating the Black Queer experience. We all hope to see you there supporting the work of all of these groups.
LGBTQ people are not a monolithic group and neither are communities of color. There is an unfathomably beautiful depth and breadth to the diversity of the Black, Latinx, and API diasporic experience. Unless we invest in equity, we are only scratching the surface. When I’m asked what arts and culture should look like in San Diego I remind folks that diversity, equity, and inclusion require investment. I look forward to the day when as a whole we can look at the demographics of who compromises our arts and culture community, and those people, stories, and art are a direct reflection of San Diegans. That would feel like Justice with Joy!
Fernando Zweifach López Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs Executive Director San Diego Pride
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.