Dear Pride Family,
In just the last couple of weeks the Human Rights Campaign issued a State of Emergency for LGBTQ Americans, 159 local organizations and leaders issued a joint statement of support for Prides and the LGBTQ community, and over 60 Pride organizations across the country issued a joint call for support. This is not a drill.
San Diego’s Spirit of Stonewall Rally is where we honor those on the frontlines of our movement and we call each other to action. Our Keynote Speaker this year is Imani Rupert-Gordon, the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who shared “At a time when we are seeing historic and unprecedented attacks on LGBTQ rights, it’s important to remember that Pride started as a protest against these same evils. In order to thrive, we all need to be bold, be brave, and be proud.” Imani is a fierce advocate, particularly for Black women and LGBTQ+ youth, and she will remind us what we’re fighting for and that we will, ultimately, prevail!
Also speaking from our Rally stage this year is LGBTQ+ and reproductive justice advocate, Vernita Gutierrez (she/her). Maksym Datsenko (he/him), a recent immigrant and asylum-seeker from Ukraine who will share his lived experience as a gay man seeking asylum from the anti-LGBTQ hate that Russia is imposing on the region. Maria Schembri (she/her) will share the importance of supporting and standing up for LGBTQ youth, particularly in the face of this rise in hate and discrimination. And finally, as we crown our Drag Community as this year’s Community Grand Marshal, Amber St. James will tell us how drag is liberation – is healing, is art, is joy, is beauty, is thriving.
Joining me as your co-MC will be Jai Rodriguez, a long-time artist, actor, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community who uses his platform to promote inclusion and justice.
I know this moment in our movement is scary for us. These battles are not new. We have fought and won these fights before. The difference is that today we are fighting back with more support, more allies, more resources, and more power than ever in our history. So as we approach San Diego Pride, I hope you will join us in rally, protest, and celebration louder, prouder, and stronger than ever so together we can truly Thrive!
Fernando Z. López
San Diego Pride