Volunteers- Making History Now and Then

Dear Pride Family,

Our community has a history of coming together to support each other. I am always inspired when I learn a new piece of history of the volunteer spirit and solidarity that LGBTQIA+ folks have for each other and for other groups fighting for freedom from oppression. The lesbians who supported gay men during the HIV epidemic, organizing the San Diego Blood Sisters who donated blood directly to HIV/AIDS patients and volunteering to sit by their sides when their families and doctors rejected them. Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson’s efforts to house, support and fight for their community with their Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR) organization. The first Pride organizers gave their time and energy to stand up for their rights and bring their community together. These examples and many more have had an immense impact on our history and movement, and are all volunteer-led.

Our community’s volunteers have had a large impact on my personal life as well. When I was first coming out, I didn’t have much of a community, and especially not much of one that I knew would support me wholeheartedly as a queer person. As I was exploring my newfound identity and trying to find my place in a community, I decided to go to She Fest in 2021. When I shyly walked up, not knowing what to expect, I immediately felt welcomed and at home. I surprisingly saw some familiar faces, received many (consensual) hugs, adorned myself with pronoun pins and swag, and left feeling joyful, connected, and free, all because of community members and volunteers giving their time to create that space. Later that year, I saw She Fest was looking for committee members and I again shyly jumped at the chance to join. Since then, I have found a place and people that I can be myself with and explore who I am. I have found lifelong friends and lifelong passions. I am so grateful for the volunteers and community leaders I now get to work with because of those welcoming and warm experiences I had when I was first discovering my queerness.

I know I am not the only one with a story like this, finding community in volunteering or at Pride events, or finally having a feeling of freedom and belonging due to an experience at an event or with a volunteer. Next week, April 21-27, 2024, is National Volunteer Appreciation Week and April is Global Volunteer Month. Take some time this month to reflect on the volunteers and community members that have impacted your life, and if you know a volunteer, thank them, write them a letter, share your stories of how volunteers have made your life better, or share your appreciation in any way that works best for you.

I am thinking about the volunteers at She Fest that made me feel at home. The volunteers that put on Light Up the Cathedral to make LGBTQ+ folks from all faith backgrounds feel welcome and supported. The volunteers and awardees at the Spirit of Stonewall Rally that impact our community through every day actions. The volunteers at the Pride Parade that organize over 300 contingents and ensure 300,000 attendees are safe and having fun celebrating our community. The 2,000 shifts covered by volunteers that help us put on the Pride Festival, from setting up to ensuring our event is accessible to supporting our artists to providing enriching workshops to cleaning up when it is all done. I am thinking of the volunteers that run our year-round programs and ensure our community is supported and welcomed in every aspect of their identity all year long. 

I am so grateful for everyone that gives their time to support all the things that San Diego Pride does, as well as in our community at large. Thank you, volunteers!

With appreciation,
Linda Glevy
Volunteer, Event, and Access Coordinator


About San Diego Pride

San Diego Pride raises funds primarily through festival ticket and beverage sales, and through sponsorships, and exhibitor fees. These funds support San Diego Pride’s community philanthropy which has distributed more than $2.5 million in advancement of its mission to foster pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally.