News Briefs: Clayton to hold inaugural Pride parade

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday June 15, 2022
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The Grove in Clayton features the Progress Pride flag near a sculpture. Photo: Courtesy Terri Denslow
The Grove in Clayton features the Progress Pride flag near a sculpture. Photo: Courtesy Terri Denslow

Clayton, a small town in the heart of Contra Costa County, will hold its inaugural Pride parade Saturday, June 25, starting at 10 a.m. on Main Street.

The event will be hosted by Clayton Pride and emceed by former mayor C.W. Wolfe.

Founded in 1857, the city of Clayton is the East Bay county's best-kept secret, a news release stated. Nestled at the base of Mt. Diablo, Clayton is a great place to work, live, and play for those who like small-town living, officials stated. Money magazine recently recognized the city as "one of the 100 best places to live in the U.S.," the release noted.

Several local businesses are sponsoring the parade, including the Pioneer newspaper, Chick Boss, and Safe At Home Inspection Services. The Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County in Concord is also a sponsor, according to the release. The parade will feature live musical performances, drag queens, city and county leaders, and hundreds of other participants.

"Supporting the Clayton Pride parade is completely consistent with who we are as a city and our motto of 'Do the Right Thing,' which includes the pillar of inclusion," Mayor Peter Cloven stated.

Vice Mayor Holly Tillman, an ally and the first Black woman elected to the City Council, is also excited for the event. "It's important for LGBTQ+ youth and families to know they're welcome in Clayton, and I'm proud to serve on the Clayton Pride committee embodying diversity," she stated.

Clayton Pride is an organization that works to create a city where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual plus people thrive as healthy and equal members of society, the release stated. It works to advocate for respect, equity, and justice, as well as to build a culturally rich community for LGBTQQIA+ people and allies.

"We are proud to support Clayton's first Pride parade and especially of the incredible team of community members planning an engaging and affirming celebration for our community," stated Kiku Johnson, a trans man of color who is executive director of the Rainbow Community Center.

Johnson noted that in-person Pride events have largely been on hiatus the last two years due to the COVID pandemic. "Visibility and representation matters," he stated.

For more information on the parade, click here.

Castro cleanup planned

Ahead of Pride weekend, several groups have organized the Castro Pride Sweep Community Clean Up for Saturday, June 18, starting at 10 a.m.

"We hope to see you there as well as we put in the extra effort to get the Castro sparkling for Pride visitors," organizers stated in a news release.

People should meet at Jane Warner Plaza at Castro, 17th, and Market streets. Participating groups include San Francisco Public Works, Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association, the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District, and the Castro Merchants Association.

Public works and the CBD will provide supplies. Anyone can participate. The areas of focus will be Castro Street, 18th Street, 19th Street, and Market Street from Castro Street to Church Street, the release stated. People can stay as long as they are able.

Volunteer registration and information is here.

Pride marriages at SF City Hall

San Francisco city officials are opening up marriage ceremony appointments for Friday, June 24, the start of Pride weekend.

City Administrator Carmen Chu's office and the county clerk's office have arranged for the additional ceremony slots, which are expected to fill quickly. A news release stated that this is the first time the clerk's office has held a special Pride event since the start of the COVID pandemic more than two years ago. There will be photo booths and décor set up in the North Light Court for couples and their wedding parties to enjoy. Couples will also receive souvenir Pride marriage certificates.

The clerk's office played a role in the historic actions city government took in fighting for marriage equality, dating back to February 2004 when then-mayor Gavin Newsom ordered officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. While those were later voided by the California Supreme Court, same-sex marriage returned to the city for several months in 2008, prior to the passage of Proposition 8, the statewide marriage ban. A federal trial in 2010 determined Prop 8 was unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 confirmed that decision, paving the way for the return of same-sex marriage in the Golden State two years before the justices legalized it nationwide in 2015's Obergefell v. Hodges decision.

Reservations for the special Pride marriage ceremonies can be made here. New appointments for June 24 will become available Friday, June 17, at 10 a.m. The fee for a marriage ceremony is $95.

For general information and complete requirements for marriage ceremonies, click here or call 311.

SFO experiential series launches Pride-themed activation

San Francisco International Airport has launched "SFO Celebrates: Pride," the latest activation of its "SFO Celebrates" program, an experiential series that brings the city's neighborhoods and cultural events directly to airport guests. This month, the series brings the energy of San Francisco's Castro Street neighborhood and Pride celebration to airport travelers, complete with a life-sized replica of the famous Castro Theatre marquee sign for photos, and entertainers including BeBe Sweetbriar, an award-winning San Francisco drag chanteuse.

Timed to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, "SFO Celebrates: Pride" will take place in the post-security area of Harvey Milk Terminal 1, with live entertainment from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Travelers can snap photos with the iconic Castro Theatre backdrop, enjoy live music, meet the Wag Brigade team of certified stress relief animals, and more.

For more information about SFO Celebrates, click here.

Petaluma launches safe space program

The city of Petaluma and its police department have launched a safe space program that stands as a statement that hate of any kind is not tolerated.

According to a news release, the program provides a location for anyone who is the victim of a hate crime or feels threatened to enter and call the police for assistance immediately. Participating businesses, schools, places of worship, and nonprofits receive a free decal to display. The decal means that the participant allows victims to enter and remain at their premises until Petaluma police arrive; calls or assists victims in contacting 911 immediately to report hate crimes; and instructs all employees or volunteers to assist victims and/or witnesses in this protocol.

"As public safety servants our mission is to create a safe and inclusive community where everyone feels safe and welcome," Petaluma police Chief Ken Savano stated. "This anti-hate program is another great example of the Petaluma community coming together in the name of community safety regardless of where you are from, what language you speak, what religion you believe in, or who you love."

While the program highlights the LGBTQIA+ logo, it applies to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or age, the release stated. The program was developed with input from community members and all levels of police personnel, according to the release.

To sign up, organizations can click here to receive a decal. The program aims to enroll 500 local groups by June 30.

Ringold Alley restored

The San Francisco Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District invites people to celebrate the recent enhancements to the Ringold Leather History Alley Saturday, June 18, from noon to 3 p.m.

The event will feature music, food, a tour of the historic site, and surprise entertainment, according to the cultural district's newsletter. Historian Gayle Rubin will lead history walks down Ringold at 1 and 2 p.m., highlighting the people and organizations commemorated by the bronze boot prints and standing stones on the alley.

Located in the South of Market neighborhood, Ringold Alley, between Eighth and Ninth and Folsom and Harrison streets, was first dedicated as a leather history project in 2017, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported. It features bronze boot prints that honor the people who left a lasting imprint on the city's leather community during their lifetimes.

According to the newsletter, the leather-pride colored sidewalks have been repaired and the bootprint plaques have been polished. The improvements, which were overdue, the newsletter explained, were made possible by the cultural district and the SOMA West Community Benefit District.

Yano Rivera made a short video to find muralist Hazel Betsey. Photo: Courtesy YouTube  

Precita Eyes looking for muralist
Precita Eyes Muralists, which is working to restore the "Hope for the World Cure" mural in the Castro, is looking for one of the original artists who may be interested in collaborating on the renovation project.

As the B.A.R. previously reported, gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and Precita Eyes Muralists founding director Susan Cervantes launched a GoFundMe campaign in May to raise $55,000 to fully restore the mural, which was painted in 1998 and commemorates the LGBTQ neighborhood's struggle with the AIDS crisis. Over the years the mural has faded and it's also been subjected to vandalism, most recently in January.

The funding effort was successful, with Cervantes securing most of the money and the crowd-funding effort netting about $4,000.

Lezak Shallat, communications director for Precita Eyes, wrote in a June 9 email to the B.A.R. that when news of the defacement came out, a woman walked into Precita Eyes' offices and said she was a close friend of Hazel Betsey, who was one of the original artists, and that Betsey was "thrilled" to hear about the restoration project and wanted to get involved.

"But no one took the name of the friend, so we have no way of reaching Hazel to invite her to participate," Shallat wrote.

Yano Rivera, the restoration lead, made a clever 22-second video, "Looking for Hazel," to help find Betsey and uploaded it to YouTube.

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