Since before Stonewall, LGBTQ people have too often been severed from family and support networks. Our queer resilience and ingenuity have made us experts at the concept of found family. Over the generations of our movement, our creativity has shone through in the way we build spaces, resources, and community for ourselves. From the early days of the Pride movement to now, community members volunteering their wisdom, strength, and time has shaped who we are as an organization and our celebrations.
In the 70s, it was a handfull of volunteers fighting for permits, selling buttons for revenue, and hand cranking mimeograph flyers to distribute around town. As the years cycled on, volunteers would bring in new insight and help us build a better Pride. From queer parents, like Carolina Ramos, helping San Diego be the first Pride in the country to have a Children’s Garden now celebrating it’s 27th year, to the late Dan Schaefer creating our event’s senior spaces, we rely on our volunteers to see what’s possible and build more. It was Angela Van Ostren who first saw the potential to make our Pride more accessible, and what started with a few ramps is now a major volunteer-run department of Pride providing an array of services all year round.
Every year thousands of volunteers come together to build our event and organization as we have since the beginning, and every year their insights help us to be better than the year before. Each of us is adding on to that inspiring work, and I hope you’ll consider volunteering with us this year as we celebrate and build on that Legacy of Liberation.
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 him a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.