Happy Friday San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Residents!

This week has been a monumental one for LGBTQ+ folks in the San Gabriel Valley and our Board of Directors is ecstatic for the visible culture shift we are living in these days.

On Tuesday, the City Council of El Monte affirmed a proclamation in support of June as Pride Month. The impact was further amplified this Wednesday when the Baldwin Park City Council became the fifth city to release a Proclamation in support of Pride Month. On Monday, we will receive Pride Month Proclamation #6 from the City of Pasadena's Mayor Victor Gordo and with this we share this letter with you. As an organization whose mission is to promote a safe and inclusive San Gabriel Valley for all people of all orientations and gender identities, we are incredibly honored and humbled that 52 years since Stonewall the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement continues in our own neighborhoods.

Since our inception in 2011, the Center has been working to increase the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Due to the Safer at Home order, it has been impossible for the LGBTQ+ community together in our usual regional Pride Celebrations, as they have all been canceled or postponed indefinitely. That is why recognizing the LGBTQ+ community's contributions in our society, is needed even more, especially by such institutions as City Governments, where many of our LGBTQ+ Community members live and work. Although there have been many advancements over the last five decades, our team knows there is still much work to be done. We must not forget that many LGBTQ+ people do not enjoy protections in healthcare, housing, adoptions and public businesses such as restaurants, bars, etc.

LGBTQ+ folks have made, and continue to make, positive and long-lasting contributions to society by advancing areas of diversity, inclusion, equity, and respect. Through the courage to stand and fight for our basic human rights to love and be loved we immensely honor and appreciate the raising of the LGBTQ+ Progress Pride Flag as a symbolic gesture of solidarity. We are resolute in support of local and regional efforts to increase the visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities that live, work and raise families in the San Gabriel Valley. Our Board of Directors looks forward to the continued advancement for a future of No Hate in the SGV.

The Center applauds the leader efforts of the various City Councils, Community-Based Organizations, Donors, and residents who continue to further advocacy efforts for the LGBTQ+ community year round. To conclude, our President, Camila Camaleón, and Vice President, Christian Port, will be speaking on Monday the 7th at 12:30pm in support of the LGBTQ+ Flag Raising at Pasadena City Hall. Due to COVID-19 this event will have limited spacing but we encourage you to watch online and also support the SGV LGBTQ+ Center's efforts by joining our Building Pride Campaign.

The Building Pride Campaign is a capacity-building initiative to cement the LGBTQ+ community in the SGV permanently. Be a part of LGBTQ+ HERstory in the San Gabriel Valley and become a donor today. Help us build a new home for the programs, services, and spaces that we need. With your support we can make sure that our community is safer, stronger, and better represented.

In Pride,

The San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Center

Board of Directors

Pictured above from Left to Right

CEO at PPPSGV Sheri Bonner, President Camila Camaleón, Mayor of Pasadena Victor Gordo, Vice President Christian Port, and Vice President of DE&I at Huntington Hospital Pamela Weatherspoon

In October 2020, the City of Pasadena approved a Citizens’ Police Oversight Committee to review police misconduct issues. The board will consist of 11 members, 8 chosen by each member of the Pasadena City Council and 3 nominated by community based organizations. Having a member of the LGBTQ community on this committee is vital for the safety of our LGBTQ community.

SGV LGBTQ+ Center Board Member, Kenny Rotter, is seeking a spot on the Citizens’ Police Oversight Committee. This will be a great opportunity to touch on some LGBTQ+ advocacy work here in the San Gabriel Valley!

Hate crimes are on the upswing for all minority groups, and the City of Pasadena can make a preemptive strike by having a diverse team of community members representing those who are often targeted, but fearful to speak up and give voice to the issues that affect our everyday lives. Keep in mind that the LGBTQ+ community encompasses people of all religions, races, abilities, ethnic backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic statuses.

We need to mobilize and reach out to Pasadena elected officials so they know how important LGBTQ representation is for this committee. Please take a few minutes and send an email, fill out a speaker card, and spread the word.

Many of the council members have already chosen their rep for the committee, including Felicia Williams, who is Kenny’s district city councilperson. Victor Gordo has not announced his decision so he may be the best person to sway to appoint Kenny as his chosen candidate for the committee.

Kenny’s qualifications can be detailed below:

  • Current employment involves critically evaluating federal crimes and submitting sentencing recommendations to judges, putting aside biases to objectively analyze evidence.

  • Licensed attorney, spent the last decade refining skills at objective and logical analysis.

  • In the Fall of 2019, attended Pasadena’s Citizens Police Academy to learn about the PPD experience

  • Through work with the SGV LGBTQ Center, has attended many anti-bias and diverse population trainings.

  • Brings the knowledge, experience, and ability to look at a specific set of facts and make an unbiased recommendation, including analysis of a set of facts against a certain evidentiary standard.

  • Brings the experience of a member of the LGBTQ community, a community that still experiences large amounts of violence and persecution.

Our SGV LGBTQ+ Center needs your help! Spread the word. Make a public comment on Monday, April 19th, 2021. Email constantly from now until Monday, April 19th, 2021 by 4 PM.

Speaker cards can be submitted here: https://www.cityofpasadena.net/city-clerk/public-comment

People can email their reps here:

District 1, Tyron Hampton: cbell@cityofpasadena.net

District 2, Felicia Williams: ddyson@cityofpasadena.net

District 3, John Kennedy: johnkennedy@cityofpasadena.net

District 4, Gene Masuda: nsullivan@cityofpasadena.net

District 5, Margo Morales: mlmorales@cityofpasadena.net

District 6, Steve Madison: N/A

District 7, Andy Wilson: pthyret@cityofpasadena.net

Mayor: Victor Gordo: vgordo@cityofpasadena.net

If you need help with sample language, please use this template below:

“The LGBTQ+ community has historically been disenfranchised, marginalized, and maligned by law enforcement and other institutions (religious, educational, political, medical, family). My fear is that LGBTQ+ members of our community might fall into those categories if the Public Safety Committee fails to appoint a well qualified candidate, Kenny Rotter, as a representative for the LGBTQ+ Community. I would think that the Committee would want to have the best interests of all communities in mind, and appoint a candidate that can give voice to the safety issues confronting the LGBTQ+ community in the City of Pasadena.”

I’ve had some writers block around here lately. I fully intended for my March blog post to one celebrating all things Women, Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, Pi Day, and more, but my heart and brain just wouldn’t let me write that post. I tried and tried, but nothing was flowing.

I wanted to write a post all about the fun time my girlfriend and I had at Drive ‘n Drag at the Rose Bowl last week, which was a super fun event that we definitely recommend if you are looking for Covid safe things to do in the SGV. I really wanted to combine my story of our fun night out with the new Gallup poll that showed an increase of individuals self reporting as LGBTQ+, but that will have to wait for another month that doesn’t feel as heavy.

I think it’s because it was hard for me to write a post celebrating women, when eight of our fellow sisters were murdered in Georgia by a man so corrupted by purity culture within the church, that he thought the solution to his own self-hatred was to go kill the women that represented his “temptations.” It was hard for me to write about the joy of Spring when we witnessed another rash of mass shootings in our nation. It was hard for me to write about light and fun things like St. Patrick’s Day, or come up with recipes for Pi Day when this month also marks the one year anniversary of the Covid-19 Pandemic in the United States and all of the loss that we have endured as a world this year. I don't know about y'all but I'm feeling a little March Madness instead of having a Spring in my Step.

I recently briefly emailed with our wonderful President, Camila, about my writer’s block and in her wisdom, she told me, “We're human so it's great to let ourselves live all sides of this experience!” I'm so grateful to have friends that are wiser than I am, when I need to give myself some space to feel all the things. If you are feeling the heaviness this month, take Camila’s wise advice and let yourself live in that experience as well. If you aren't feeling the heaviness, let yourself live in that experience as well! Be yourself and enjoy each moment we have.

Get some extra rest, go for a walk, call up a friend, drink an extra glass of water, brew up your favorite tea/coffee, snuggle under a cozy blanket, take a hot shower, do whatever looks like rest and self care to you. If you want more of Camila’s sage advice, reach out to her, become a volunteer on our amazing team, or join one of our many support groups! We will get through this, friends, and we will be better on the other side.

Be Kind To Yourself!

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