US Senate candidate Lee named a grand marshal of Oakland Pride

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Thursday September 7, 2023
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Congressmember Barbara Lee, who in February announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate, has been named grand marshal of this Sunday's Oakland Pride parade. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland
Congressmember Barbara Lee, who in February announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate, has been named grand marshal of this Sunday's Oakland Pride parade. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

Congressmember Barbara Lee, who is seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Dianne Feinstein, was named a grand marshal of this weekend's Oakland Pride parade.

Lee's campaign stated in a news release that Oakland Pride made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

Lee, a Democrat and straight ally who has long represented Oakland in Congress, has regularly participated in Oakland Pride over the years.

"I am absolutely honored to receive this recognition from Oakland Pride," Lee stated. "From a very early age I've been deeply committed to stepping up and fighting on behalf of my friends in the LGBTQ+ community, and I'm running for Senate because we need a proven and effective progressive fighter in the Senate defending the rights of all Californians."

Lee faces a competitive Senate primary campaign against two other Democratic progressives currently in Congress: Adam Schiff of Burbank and Katie Porter of Irvine.

The Bay Area Reporter's Political Notebook column this week featured an interview with Lee and how she is banking on support from the LGBTQ community to survive the March primary and advance to the November ballot next year.

"I think it is important as a candidate to communicate what I have done. When no one else led on LGBTQ-plus community issues, I did and will do so all my life," said Lee, 77, during a recent phone interview with the B.A.R.

Since her days in the state Legislature, Lee has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, the release noted. She authored the California Schools Hate Violence Reduction Act to protect marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ Californians, from hate violence in public schools. In Congress, she is a co-founder and the vice chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and has voted consistently to protect marriage equality and recognize LGBTQ+ Americans as equal under the law.

Also an early and outspoken advocate for ending HIV and ensuring an AIDS-free generation, Lee spearheaded nearly every major piece of HIV/AIDS legislation and worked with Republican former President George W. Bush to establish the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a global program that over the last 20 years has provided billions of dollars in prevention and treatment funding that has saved millions of lives around the world. PEPFAR is up for renewal this year, and Lee is fighting for that as it's become mired in abortion politics, as the B.A.R. noted in a recent editorial calling for its reauthorization.

She also pushed through a change in federal law during the Obama administration to allow people living with HIV to be organ donors for one another.

The release stated that others who will be featured during the Sunday, September 10, Pride parade will be Johanna Holden, development director at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center; Michel Rene Huff, a trans man and attorney who is president of Oakland Pride; and the Lavender Seniors organization, which is now a program of the Oakland LGBTQ center.

The Oakland Pride parade starts at 11 a.m., proceeding up Broadway (from 14th to 21st streets) in Oakland and will be streamed live at, hosted by ABC7-TV's Zach Fuentes and Anser Hassan. The livestream is also featured on the ABC7 News app, or download the ABC7 Bay Area app to watch on Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple, and Google TV.

The parade will be followed by a celebration and festival, starting Sunday at noon in Uptown Oakland (20th & Broadway).

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