What an outstanding start in this new year for LGBT pride and equality.
For the first time in history, a United States President made a declaration for LGBT equal rights in his inauguration speech. Mentioning the events of the Stonewall uprisings in the same vein as other key historical events in the quests for freedom and equality, in his second inauguration speech President Barack Obama made clear:
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall…It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
A long awaited, if not overdue but welcome declaration, the long storied quest for LGBT dignity, fairness, and equal treatment under the law thrives in San Francisco. Voted the Ultimate “Pride City 2012″ by GayCities, San Francisco remains the ultimate destination for people worldwide to come celebrate, explore, and honor this journey for equality.
Starting off 2013 meeting and engaging with the various partners, sponsors, and volunteers of San Francisco Pride, I am all the more encouraged that our community is off to a promising start to celebrate the 43rd Anniversary of the SF Pride Parade and Celebration. Thanks to so many in the community for your kind welcome, and your dedication to ensuring that together as a team, the best of Pride is yet to come.
It is clear that SF Pride is a truly dynamic organization borne of a exceptionally dynamic community. Celebrating LGBT Pride in San Francisco is one of the most awaited annual occasions because at its heart it is remains a community-based event that involves the resources, ideas, energy, diverse skills and talents of hundreds of people — each invested in advancing LGBT visibility and equality for all.
I could not be more proud than to have the honor to work with such a remarkable and talented team that makes SF Pride the successful venture it is and will be in the coming year:
- Among our core team of event coordinators alone, we have a wealth of combined 100 years plus experience to produce SF Pride’s parade, event stages, concessions, receptions, and other contingent features.
- Major sponsors that not only continue to step up to the plate, with some going the extra mile by increasing their commitment.
- A dedicated Board of Directors prepared to upgrade SF Pride’s financial health, while meeting it’s fiduciary commitments to community based beneficiaries, and partners such as the City and County of San Francisco.
- A community advisory board of diverse leaders lending their time and talent towards making sure that SF Pride is a vibrant, inclusive venture in every aspect possible.
- A growing corp of volunteers that contribute countless hours throughout the year to the various events, initiatives, and activities promoting SF Pride as a truly vested community partner and leader.
As we work to move SF Pride forward to meet — and where possible exceed — the challenges of an ever changing, ever growing organization, the input, ideas, feedback, and commitment from our diverse community is essential towards its yearly event, year long programs, and long term success.
As is often the case upon the arrival of a new executive leader of an organization such as SF Pride, he or she will be invited to several events to meet members of the community, as well as occasionally be featured in various press and media outlets. While these are welcome opportunities to meet, greet, explore and expand on the greater possibilities for SF Pride, there is nothing like engaging such a dynamic, diverse community in a face-to-face, focused effort to gather constructive and valued input as one works to lead and serve a common vision to the best of one’s ability.
So, prepare to be engaged.
In the coming months, you will be invited to engage in a series of opportunities to share with me, members of the SF Pride Board, Community Advisory Board, and staff your ideas, feedback and vision for making Pride 2013 as productive and successful possible.
With an ‘all hands on deck’ approach involving public events and online surveys, we aim to fashion a community-invested strategic plan to advance SF Pride as an evolving organization, vital event in the movement for LGBT equality, and key fundraiser for critical community-based services.
What about the SF Pride celebration works best and why? How can we improve, make more accessible, and more enjoyable this landmark celebration?
The first of such SF Pride community engagements will be a community partners event at the San Francisco Main Library’s Koret Auditorium on February 8th, 4-5:30pm.
As the new CEO of SF Pride, I look forward to meeting you, sharing my vision for SF Pride moving forward, updating you on the progress SF Pride is making to meet its various programmatic, financial, and fundraising commitments, and hearing of your ideas and suggestions for a successful and memorable Pride 2013.
See you at the Library!
Earl Plante, CEO