Dear Pride Family,
The first time I went to the Spirit of Stonewall Rally was in 2000.
It was only a few weeks before that I had been homeless and living in my car. I was from the rural border town of El Centro and didn’t know what Pride really was, but I knew there were LGBTQ people there and I knew it was in Hillcrest.
I stumbled upon a large group of people standing in front of The Center and for the first time in my life I heard the words “gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender” said with pride on a loudspeaker instead of as a slur or behind a whispered hand. As I listened to the speakers that day, I was filled with hope for the first time and a sense that I wasn’t alone.
I found community.
2 years ago this week I stepped into this role as Pride’s Executive Director. I couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago the role I serve in now, and yet I know how pivotal it was for me to see our community leaders on that stage talking about our movement and the path to progress.
While much has changed in that time, what remains consistent is the need to lift up and support those doing the important work to serve and fight for our community every day.
Since the first Pride in San Diego, we have had a rally. It is a time for us to honor our origins, celebrate those who are leading the way, and call our community to action around some of our movement’s most pressing issues.
This year we will face critical elections and Supreme Court cases which only underscore our need for direct action. After 20 years, the rally still is my personal favorite part of Pride weekend.
It calls me home, lifts my heart, and helps me remember what we’re fighting for. I hope you will join me at the Spirit of Stonewall Rally this year as we collectively remember that while united we stand, divided we fall; Together We Rise.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride