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Oakland 'Rises Up' with Pride

by Heather Cassell

Our Family Coalition had a large group of families in last year's Oakland Pride parade
Our Family Coalition had a large group of families in last year's Oakland Pride parade  (Source:Rick Gerharter)

Thousands are anticipated to come out to enjoy Oakland Pride Sunday, September 10.

The daylong event will be Oakland's eighth annual LGBTQ Pride festival and the fourth annual parade since the event returned in 2010.

"Oakland Pride is our theme. Making pride about our community, about Oakland and the broader East Bay," said Carlos Uribe, a 35-year-old queer man who is the board co-chair at Oakland Pride.

He hopes the parade and celebration will bring out 50,000 people, which is on par with previous years.

Lesbian TV host and San Francisco Pride board President Michelle Meow will again emcee the parade, announcing and interviewing more than 80 contingents from the grandstand, said Uribe.

This year will also be the first time that Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), a straight ally, will march in the parade. Lesbian Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan and her council colleague, Annie Campbell Washington, are also expected to march.

Lee told the Bay Area Reporter in an email interview that "protecting LGBTQI rights is one of the most pressing civil rights issues facing this generation."

"While we have made tremendous progress against hatred, and discrimination against the LGBTQI community, there is still work to do," said Lee, who is a founding member and vice chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus. "I will continue working to pass legislation that respects the love and dignity of all people."

She said that it's important to celebrate, even as national leaders seek to roll back gains for LGBTQs, immigrants, and others.

"Oakland Pride is the only LGBTQI celebration of this magnitude in the East Bay and it is important to celebrate the rich and significant culture of the LGBTQI community," added Lee. "It also serves as a reminder that every person is worthy of dignity, love and respect - regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We must continue to combat homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of discrimination and we can do that by joining together in love and mutual respect."

Festival headliner will be Grammy-nominated "Rise Up" singer Andra Day and special guest pop singer Alex Newell on the main stage. They will be joined by bisexual Broadway diva and "American Idol" and "The Voice" alum Frenchie Davis; Elettrodomestico, a two-piece band made up of musicians Jane Wiedlin, of the Go Go's fame, and Pietro Straccia; gay Oakland native urban pop and R&B singer Princetonation; and "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant Latrice Royale.

"The song, 'Rise Up,' has been used ... as an inspirational song to overcoming adversity," said Uribe. "I think that is really important, given the current political climate in the country, that folks can have a sense of coming together, especially [at] Oakland Pride."

There will be performances on the popular Latinx stage, and the community and women's stages, among others.

Our Family Coalition's children's and family area, hosted in the parking lot of one of Oakland Pride's major sponsors, Kaiser Permanente, will feature the traditional animal petting zoo and a new "instrument" zoo in association with the Oakland Symphony.

"The symphony brings out a bunch of instruments and kids can pick them up, check them out, and try to play a couple of instruments," said Uribe, "and really inspire kids to get into the music and learn an appreciation and love for that."

Community organizations, like Equality California, will be in one of more than 150 booths at the festival. Pridegoers searching for volunteer opportunities with EQCA will receive free entrance into the celebration and a T-shirt.

It costs around $275,000 to produce this year's Oakland Pride parade and festival, said Uribe. There are also a number of unofficial Oakland Pride weekend parties being thrown by independent promoters.

Where to Celebrate

Revolve, Oakland Pride's 10-day creative arts and film festival, started the festivities earlier this month and it continues through September 10 at various locations. Tickets range from free to $40, depending on the event.

Oakland Pride's benefit party for Houston - Life OUT Loud - is September 8, with special guest DJ Jayvi Velasco and DJs DeMarco Holmes and Sir Ellis. It's from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Brix 581, 581 5th Street in Oakland. Cover charge is $10. All proceeds will be donated to FEMA/Red Cross to benefit Hurricane Harvey victims in Houston.

Hey Girl Hey will kick off Oakland Pride weekend September 9 with a party with DJs Campbell, Marcus G, and Luna spinning the grooves at Era Art Bar and Lounge, 19 Grand Avenue in Oakland, from 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Lee is the keynote speaker at this year's East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club's Oakland Pride Breakfast. The event begins at 8 a.m., September 10 at SPUR Oakland, 1544 Broadway. The event is free to members and $15 for non-members. Reservations are required.

The Pride parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Broadway and 14th streets. Parade viewing is free to the general public. VIP/grandstand is $5 in advance and $10 at the gate; free for ADA access.

The festival celebration is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday. Tickets are $10 per person and $5 for children under 12. Entrance is at 20th Street and Broadway.

For more information, contact or visit

Hella Pride, Oakland Pride's after-party hosted by Good VBZ and That Queer Party, will have the hip-hop, rap, R&B, and trap going with DJs Dutch Boy, Drow Flow, Kream, Yng Gma, and Moscone Sunday from 5 to 11 p.m., at Brix 581, 581 5th Street. Cover is $10.

Volunteer opportunities for Oakland Pride are still available. For more information, contact (510) 417-4127,, or visit

For more information about volunteer opportunities with EQCA, contact John Madrigal, program associate, at (323) 848-9801 or


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