Jasmyne Cannick (Courtesy photo)


On June 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation for Pride Month in California, joining others around the world commemorating the LGBTQ+ struggle for equal rights following the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City. Many historians regard that event as a catalyst for the global LGBTQ+ movement.

“This month – and every month – California stands with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community as they take pride in who they are and whom they love. Pride Month is a time to remember the gift that is our remarkable diversity, making all of us stronger as we continue to pursue equality, acceptance, and freedom for all,” Newsom said in a statement.

June also marks Juneteenth, a federal holiday celebrating the abolition of chattel slavery, in the United States. For Black LGBTQ+ advocates, these overlapping celebrations provide a unique opportunity to highlight the principles of activism that have become key to making a space for themselves in the world.

Jasmyne Cannick, a political consultant and journalist, spoke to California Black Media about how Pride and Black activism have always been intertwined, noting that activist Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman, started the series of protests that would eventually give rise to Pride Month.

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“Pride evolved out of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. They were protests against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City,” Cannick said. “So, Pride’s roots are based in political and social action.”

Cannick highlighted a few events in California celebrating this shared history: the Cal American Chemical Society (ACS) Pride & Juneteenth Celebration Picnic, Los Angeles Black Pride and South Los Angeles Pride.

On June 15, the California section of the ACS will be holding a Pride and Juneteenth Celebration Picnic at the Don Castro Regional Recreation Area from 11:00am to 2:00pm.

Picnic activities include prizes, games, food refreshments and trivia about Cal ACS, Juneteenth and Pride.

The Los Angeles Black Pride event, taking place on July 4th weekend, is a three-day event featuring dancing, performances, awards and community gatherings in various locations in LA.

For Pride his year, the California Civil Rights Department’s “California Vs Hate” campaign launched a Pride tour that will make stops at celebrations across the state to inform LGBTQ+ Californians about the resources available to them to fight hate.

“In California, we don’t just tolerate our differences, we celebrate them,” said California Civil Rights Department Director Kevin Kish. “During Pride Month, we’re excited to march with and support communities up and down our state in the fight against hate. No matter who you love or who you are, we all deserve a chance to live our lives with joy. Through CA vs Hate and the Civil Rights Department, we want all our state’s residents to know that we’re a resource against hate and discrimination.”

Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang said it is unfortunate that LGBTQ+ people of all races continue to experience hate crimes and hate incidents as they become more frequent and widespread.

“Ensuring that LGBTQ+ Californians have the necessary resources and awareness on how to report hate safely is critical,” said Hoang. We are thankful for Governor Newsom’s leadership in ensuring that all acts of hate can be reported through CA vs Hate, regardless of whether it is a crime. We’re proud to work alongside CA vs Hate and the California Civil Rights Department to help make sure all members of the LGBTQ+ community can get the support they need when they report.”

The South LA Pride Celebration also takes place in July.

According to their website, the annual South LA Pride Celebration “exists to celebrate, uplift and empower the diverse LGBTQ+ community of South LA.”

South LA Pride will take place at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex on July 13 from noon to 8:00pm.

Cannick, while not condemning the more light-hearted elements of Pride celebrations, insists that Pride should also be a time for activism.

“Pride in 2024 should be about more than dressing up, more than a rainbow flag, and more than getting drunk and partying,” Cannick said. “That connection needs to be made especially with younger generations who are more content with social media activism than taking that same activism into the ballot booth.”

The Human Rights Campaign, a non-profit dedicated to advancing LGBTQ+ priorities, tracks fatal violence against transgender and gender expansive people. So far this year, 15 people who fit this designation across the United States have been murdered. According to that data, 80% of victims have been people of color and 40% of them were Black transgender women.

For Black LGBTQ+ individuals who need to report hate incidents, CA vs Hate is a non-emergency, multilingual hate crime and incident reporting hotline and online portal. Reports can be made anonymously by calling (833) 866-4283, or 833-8-NO-HATE, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT or online at any time. For individuals who want to report a hate crime to law enforcement immediately or who are in imminent danger, please call 911. For more information on CA vs Hate, please visit CAvsHate.org.

This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.