2024 Ken Jones Award Recipients

Michelle Alcedo

10 Years of Service Award

Michelle Alcedo (she/her) is a passionate advocate in service of LGBTQ+ seniors in the Bay Area. As the former Director of Programs at Openhouse, the center of San Francisco’s housing, community, and support for LGBTQ+ seniors, she had the privilege of working alongside the most inspiring LGBTQ+ activists who shaped the character of the city. In her 14-year tenure, Michelle was one of the first queer women of color to address the intersections of race, gender identity and sexual orientation in aging services. Michelle worked with city agencies and mainstream aging services to make visible the unique needs of the city's aging LGBTQ+ community, then worked collaboratively to help remove barriers for LGBTQ+ to live openly and thrive.  

Under Michelle's leadership, Openhouse experienced transformative growth in both the number of seniors served by the organization and its commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI). She played a central role in expanding services to LGBTQ+ elders of color and championed the diversification of staff to authentically mirror the identities of the community members they served. Her visionary approach saw the development and delivery of comprehensive training curricula, enabling over 3,500 service providers throughout California to enhance their practices and better serve LGBTQ+ seniors. Michelle's efforts extended beyond education. She oversaw the grassroots community organizing campaign to house seniors in San Francisco's first LGBTQ+-affirming housing at 55 AND 75 Laguna Street.  

Appointed to the SF LGBT Aging Policy Task Force by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2013, Michelle became a key figure in advocating for policies that acknowledged the specific challenges faced by LGBTQ+ seniors in the city, particularly those of color.  Michelle's impact extended to the CA Department of Public Health’s, Mental Health Services Act Multicultural Coalition (CMMC), where, as a queer woman of color, she championed the integration of cultural and linguistic competence in the public mental health system.  Michelle is incredibly grateful for the years she worked in service of LGBTQ+ elders and considers herself part of a legacy that has not only shaped her past but will continue to inspire her future.    

Marcel Pardo Ariza

Pride Creativity Award

Marcel Pardo Ariza (b. Bogotá, Colombia) (they/them) is a trans visual artist, educator and curator who explores the relationship between queer and trans kinship through constructed photographs, installations and public programming. Their work is rooted in close dialogue and collaboration with trans, non-binary and queer friends and peers, most of whom are performers, artists, educators, policymakers, and community organizers. Their practice celebrates collective care and intergenerational connection. Their work has recently been exhibited at SFMOMA, the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Palo Alto Art Center; San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; Palm Springs Art Museum; and the Institute of Contemporary Art San José. Ariza is the recipient of the 2022 SFMOMA SECA Award, the 2021 CAC Established Artists Award; the 2020 San Francisco Artadia Award; 2018-19 Alternative Exposure Grant; 2017 Tosa Studio Award; and a 2015 Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Award. They are currently a lecturer at California College of the Arts.

View their work at marcelapardo.com

Marsha H. Levine

Mayoral Award: Teddy Witherington Award

Since 1980, Marsha H. Levine (she/they/ey) has been a consumate Pride activist, and while attending the 1981 formation of the National Organization of Lesbians and Gays (NOLAG) in 1981, she initiated the idea for a network and exchange of information among Pride organizations. Over a year later, in October 1982, Levine organized the first of what would become annual conferences of the National Association of Lesbian/Gay Pride Coordinators (NAL/GPC) in Boston, with attendees from various Pride committees coordinating LGBT Pride events, who shared planning and logistics processes.

Later renamed InterPride in 1997, today it is a 42-year-young global network of over 450 Pride organizations from 70+ countries, connecting and coordinating the efforts of all Prides on every continent of the world. Aside from being recognized as its Founder, Marsha just completed eight years serving as a Vice President of Global Outreach, and a four-year term as Co-President of USAP (United States Association of Prides).

After serving as President of the Boston Lesbian/Gay Pride Committee (1982-1985), Marsha moved to the Bay Area in 1985 and joined San Francisco Pride within days of landing, encouraged by then-President Ken Jones to take on the role of Main Stage Co-Chair. She would go on to hold the role of President herself in 1990, and serve in the pre-Executive Director position as overall co-chair of SF Pride (with Ggreg Taylor, 1993-1994), shepherding the organization through numerous controversies and clashing with national anti-LGBT figures such as Jesse Helms and Jerry Falwell. From 2000 to January 2018, Marsha was their Parade Manager, until she was hired as the Community Relations Manager for the organization, until 2023.

She has been the unsung hero of many Pride parades, lending her experience, knowledge, and boundless energy to the community with characteristic good humor and optimism.

Yoseñio V. Lewis

Pride Freedom Award

Yoseñio V. Lewis (he/him) is a Latino of African Descent transman who has been a social justice activist since he was 13 years old. A consultant, health educator, speaker, trainer, facilitator, writer, performer, out poly and kinky person and a spiritual hugger, Yoseñio has been a panelist and keynote speaker at numerous universities and sexuality conferences. He was one of the inaugural honorees of The Trans 100 list. Yoseñio is a member the Columbia University Community-Collaborative Advisory Board and a member of The Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians.

Yoseñio is a Certified Restorative Justice Practitioner and has completed the Introduction to the Principles of Kingian Nonviolence. He is on the faculty for the Sex Justice Track of the National LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change Conference. Yoseñio is a Trans Patient Educator at Stanford University.

Yoseñio has been featured in several documentaries about gender identity and the trans* experience. He is the founder of Written In The Flesh Erotic Readings (an on-stage opportunity for the lifting up of People of Color voices in Erotica and Sexual Liberation). Yoseñio is also an aspiring Voice Over Artist.  

Yoseñio believes that there can be no art without activism and no activism without art.

Dennis McMillan (Sister Dana Van Iquity)

Audrey Joseph LGBTQ Entertainment Award

Dennis (he/him) started writing his own “comic book” at age six and a half—because the official readers they gave him were just too boring: “See Jane Run. See Spot Run.” Hardly real page-turners! Later in high school he was a news editor for the school newspaper. At UCLA he wrote for the SDS society (Students for a Democratic Society) newsletter.

After he came out, he wrote gay porn stories for a multitude of men’s magazines—he called it “entertainment for one.” He always used only part of his true name or backwards (he feared he might regret a true byline someday in politics. As if.) Two porn tales were published in book forms: “How to Succeed in Business” in Rogues of San Francisco 1993 and “Country Carryings On” in Country Rogues 1995 by Reid Dennis (both by middle name first and first name second).

He became “Sister Dana Van Iquity” with The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on SF Gay Pride Day 1985. He’s still “Sister Dana”! He still uses that byline. Sister Dana was a syndicated entertainment columnist for 36 different nationwide LGBT newspapers and magazines from 1985 until he wrote for Bay Area Reporter. He then wrote legit news and reviews weekly for B.A.R. He was on-staff Publication Chair for many years for the annual SF LGBTQ Pride Parade magazine. There he met the fabulous Audrey Joseph dealing with editing and attending general meetings, as well as dancing at her glorious gay club, Pleasuredome. He never met Ken Jones, but greatly admired his being “The Father of Diversity” and the first African-American President of Pride.

He next wrote weekly news and reviews for San Francisco Sentinel, until it closed down in 1995. He reported for SF Spectrum news after SF Sentinel closed. He began writing biweekly everything-but-sports news (including a porn film review) for San Francisco Bay Times with publisher Kim Corsaro. Friends jokingly called it Dennis Times, because he was writing half the paper then. Publishers Betty Sullivan and Jennifer Viegas took over Bay Times, where he currently composes Sister Dana Sez: Words of Wisdumb from a Fun Nun biweekly column in the “Entertainment” section on paper and online at sfbaytimes.com

Zwazzi Sowö

Gilbert Baker Pride Founder’s Award

Over her 43 year career in social services, Zwazzi has worked in a substance and alcohol use residential recovery program, treating men and women living with HIV. She designed and implemented residential codependency recovery program for family members.

She also worked in a residential program for survivors of domestic violence, focusing on interrupting the inter-generational cycle of violence, and designed and implemented a program to support and help heal homeless women experiencing domestic violence.

During the year Zwazzi was a member of the SF Pride Board she initiated and implemented steps which resulted in increasing a Black presence at our Pride celebration. The 2004 parade featured 8 black contingents marching together and over a dozen booths at the celebration dedicated to the black community, including the first "Soul of Pride" village at the celebration. Zwazzi Sowö (she/her) has been a lifelong activist and advocate for social justice change since the age of 10, when she met and got involved in the civil rights movement, marching with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for fair housing in Chicago.

Stephen John Torres

Pride Community Award

Stephen Torres (he/him) recently served San Francisco as an Entertainment Commissioner and Advisory Board Executive Co-Chair for the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District and has engaged in the community on the Board of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and at the Drug Policy Alliance of California, while producing nightlife and cultural events designed to support small businesses and bring community members together in safe and inclusive spaces. He is also a longtime journalist and writer for such publications as Broke-Ass Stuart, 7x7 Magazine, GayCities/Queerty, the Bold Italic and the Bay Guardian.

Adela Vázquez

José Julio Sarria History Maker Award

Adela Vázquez (she/her) is a Cuban-born transgender woman who was active in the Cuban LGBT community before migrating to the U.S. in the Mariel Boat Lifts of 1980, settling in California with the help of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.  she arrived in San Francisco in 1983.

Her activist work began in 1992 when she was crowned Miss Gay Latina, by Instituto Familiar De La Raza. Her work focused on health disparities and workplace discrimination  in the transgender community. She is credited with being the first Trans Latina employed to address issues of HIV in San Francisco. As outreach coordinator for Proyecto ContraSIDA Por Vida she worked to implement a dynamic, culturally situated, queer approach to community health.

Adela was on a committee of community advisory members for "The Transgender Community Health Project" for the University of San Francisco Department of Public Health and later on went to serve as a Latino AIDS Education and Prevention Program Coordinator at the Instituto Familiar de la Raza.

Now, in her retirement, she facilitates a group at San Francisco AIDS Foundation for transgender women 50 and over. Also enjoys the quiet of her garden and the colorful ways of the Mission neighborhood.