0n June 26, LightHouse community members, students, volunteers and staff gathered to honor and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community by marching in the 52nd Annual San Francisco Pride Parade.
This was the fourth time LightHouse has marched in the parade, the three previous being in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The parade returned for in-person festivities this year after those were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
Below are some thoughts from people who worked as part of the LightHouse contingent.
Sheri Albers, Community Outreach Coordinator:
“Pride was filled with energy that seemed to have been bottled up for the past two and-a-half years of pandemic cloistering. The crowd was excited and cheered for LightHouse as we went by, as if they were really happy to see us! Our contingent was a nice mix of students, staff, volunteers and family members. For some, it was their very first LightHouse event! I had the privilege of holding the LightHouse banner and walking down the middle of Market Street on that beautiful San Francisco morning. It was an unforgettable experience.”
Daisy Soto, Youth Services Coordinator:
“For the past few years, getting to be part of the LightHouse’s Pride parade contingent is something I’ve always looked forward to. Disability representation is something that is often lacking in spaces such as Pride, which makes the opportunity to march in a contingent largely made up of blind and disabled folks all the more special and significant. I’m grateful that the LightHouse has provided a safe and inclusive way for disabled members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to participate in such an important and empowering event.”
We also got some reflections from one of our wonderful volunteers who participated, Danica Kubota:
“I really liked participating in Lighthouse’s contingent because I got to talk to people from all different backgrounds that I wouldn’t ordinarily have had the chance to talk to. Stella, one of the other volunteers, offered to paint a rainbow on my face with her Pride stamp/marker which was very kind of her, considering she had only known me for five minutes. Seeing everyone cheering and holding up their flags and posters with empowering and kind messages as we marched by really touched me, and as cheesy as it sounds, restored a little of my faith in humanity.”
And here are reflections from LightHouse student and volunteer, Dennis O’Hanlon:
“The intersection of sexuality and disability is such an important topic that is often overlooked. It was really to have this day with all my friend at LightHouse.”
We give a huge thank you to everyone who participated in celebrating with us. And now, a final word from Allyson Ferrari, LightHouse Volunteer Manager:
“It felt amazing to be back in the San Francisco Pride Parade after two years of pausing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The energy in the air was electric and being able to march with the LightHouse community is the highlight of every June. We’re grateful to once again partner with San Francisco Pride in increasing accessibility. We also partnered with Aira this year as well to bring audio description to the Parade viewing experience. Save the date for Pride 2023 – Sunday, June 25th!”