When I heard this year’s theme of “Oakland is Pride, Pride is Oakland,” I knew.
I knew that what we hit upon a theme that so many of feel here in The Town. And I knew that the theme hit home with my life story.
I emigrated to the United States with my family from Mexico when I was nine years old. I’m proud to say that I’ve been living in Oakland since then. I stayed focused throughout my time in the Oakland public school system and then proudly graduated from Oakland Unity High School. I received so much support there from teachers and fellow students. It was an opportunity for me to start identifying who I was in this world, and to get comfortable with who I was.
One particular teacher opened my eyes to the multiple needs of my different communities. I started to work at that time around Latino/a, People of Color (POC) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTQ) issues, as well as to continue to fight for the rights of our immigrant communities.
As a young, gay, Latino man, there was no way that I could focus on one issue and ignore the others. My commitment to my communities deepened.
When I volunteered at Oakland Pride for the first time in 2012, I was amazed. I was amazed by how welcoming the environment was for someone like me. I was accepted and celebrated for exactly who I was.
That welcoming spirit is what makes Oakland Pride so unique. Why not make a donation today?
I reached out to the Board of Directors. I knew that I wanted to use the tools that I’ve learned along my own journey to help take Oakland Pride to the next level. At the end of 2010, I was brought on as the newest member of Oakland Pride’s Board of Directors, a responsibility that I’m very proud and honored to continue to take on.
When I arrived to the United States from Mexico as a nine year old boy, I didn’t know where life would take both myself and my family. What I know now is that what makes Oakland different is that there’s the space, the opportunity for a young man from Mexico to give back to his multiple communities on a daily basis. I’m extremely grateful for that.
That’s why today I’m asking you to contribute, volunteer and sponsor to Oakland Pride. Because I know that so many of us are grateful for the gift of possibility that Oakland gives to us on a daily basis.
Looking forward to seeing you at Pride!