Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Love, Community and Resistance

    Oakland celebrates a decade of pride

    By Geremy Lowe

    Oakland commemorated community at Pride this year when more than 50,000 people gathered in the streets of downtown Oakland on Sunday, Sept. 9 to celebrate the city’s 10th annual Oakland Pride Festival.


    From 19th & Franklin to 21st & Webster, four stages were set up for performers featuring diversity in genre, culture and identity, but all with the same message — community.


    Oakland’s LGBTQ Community Center’s booth was placed among many other vendors. Operated by volunteers, the center has seen over 3000 people since its grand opening on Sept. 7, 2017.

    “This organization was founded by two African American men who wanted to make the community better, “ said Manifair Hwang, treasurer and board of directors member at Oakland’s LGBTQ Community Center. “We are here to support the health and wellness of our community.”


    Groups of families, friends and allies sauntered through the festival and exchanged love and laughter as the sounds of music swept through the streets.


    The Oakland Community Stage featured the city’s finest drag queens. Cemora Valentino-Devine promotes the weekly drag show called “The Playground,” hosted at Club BnB Saturday nights. Her announcement was followed by a glamorous drag runway show which stimulated the crowd’s high spirits.

    The pride festivities also welcomed voices from Oakland’s elected officials, who seek the end to displacement of minorities in all areas.


    “Visibility is most important,” said Pam Harris, a councilwoman candidate for Oakland’s District Four. “Displacement is happening for the African American and Hispanic demographic.”

    Harris and her wife are raising children in Oakland, and want the community to remain accessible to all cultures and safe for all children.


    Oakland’s Pride display created a unique environment in comparison to San Francisco’s Pride Festival, many attendees said. Through the colorful hairstyles and exotic outfits, Oakland’s LGBTQ community and allies showcased a mélange of people and their love for each other.

    “We only have this one life,” said Morgan Chestnutt, a massage therapist in Oakland. “You should be who you are.”

    The celebration represented ideologies distinctive to Oakland. Club 21, Laney College, the Golden State Warriors and other vendors came to partake in the celebration of love, community, and resilience.

    Gospel tunes from the Oakland Interfaith Choir booth serenaded and welcomed people passing by.

    “I’ve been a part of Oakland Interfaith Choir for five years now,” said Stephanie Miller, who sings alto. “The message is love and inclusion. We are all God’s children, or however you call God, and we all belong together.”

    This theme of inclusion prevailed in every voice during the festivities.

    “Humanity first is our brand,” said Nicholas Williams, director of Oakland’s Parks and Recreations and the co-founder of the organization Everybody’s Cool. “Community by community, we can put love back in Oakland.”

    Williams also spoke on people reciprocating nice behavior to one another — a simple formula to end hate and rebuild families.

    As attendees stood in a two-block long wait at the entrance, there was no way to deny what represents the heart of Oakland — diversity in culture, race, class, and identity.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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