Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach will have LGBTQers and their allies strut and float along its concrete path this Sunday to celebrate the 30 years that the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride (LBLGP) Parade has existed.
That first parade in 1984 had some 5,000 revelers that harnessed the pride they held in their community– even under rain clouds. Today, that same annual celebration gathers more than 80,000 people in the united belief that diversity is to celebrated, equality is to be shared with everyone and that love holds no boundaries within the human spirit.
This year’s parade will take place on Sunday, May 19 with the three original founders of LBLGP as the parade’s 2013 Grand Marshals: Marilyn Barlow, Bob Crow, and Judith Doyle.
“We still face our battles,” said Crow, who still works for LBLGP. “But we have come a long way. Back then, we had enormous opposition, from city officials to neighbors, but we never gave up, and we never aborted the mission that we still have today– to let love be a part of every single person’s life.”
Five other individuals will be recognized and hold special places within the parade route.
The Whitey Littlefield Community Bridge-Building Award will be given to local ally Herlinda Chico for her advocacy of LGBT legislation through the Human Rights Campaign and Long Beach Democratic Club– something she attributes to her first visit to the LBLGP parade when she 18. Ever since she witnessed protestors holding signs which she said spewed nothing short of “hate speech,” she has seen the annual celebration as a way to engage her heterosexual friends with the gay community on a level that is simultaneously amusing and mind-opening.
A special recognition honor will be given to 9-year-old Jonas Corona, founder and “Chief of Change” of the nonprofit Love in the Mirror that he created when he was 6. Focusing on low-income and homeless families and individuals, Jonas has helped lift the lives of those less fortunate by giving them the essentials that many of us take for granted: socks, shoes, sustenance, and shelter.
The Female and Male Community Grand Marshals will be Sarah Rice and Jewels of Long Beach, respectively.
Rice is not shy of the camera, as seen during her stint on MTV’s The Real World Brooklyn.
For those within the LGBT community, Jewels is a staple– and not just within the nightlife scene, but within their community as a whole.
The first openly gay person of color to ever be elected to the California State Senate, Sen. Ricardo Lara will be granted the moniker of the Morris Knight Political Grand Marshal. One of his boldest moves was the successful passage of a California Legislative Joint Resolution calling for a national LGBTQ Bill of Rights.
The LBLGP Parade will take place along Ocean Boulevard between Redondo and Alamitos avenues on Sunday, May 19 at 10am. Street closures and detours will be in effect.
Source: LBLGP, Inc.