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Photos Tom and Nadin Abbott
Video: Tom Abbott, editing Nadin Abbott
July 16, 2016 (San Diego) San Diego Pride was held in Hillcrest with tens of thousands coming to watch and participate in the parade. This has become the largest event on the West Coast, and Orlando figured prominently during the parade. There were floats, but also a specific group that carried photos of those who died at the Pulse Bar in Orlando.
These photos were a good reminder for all of those who died. There was also a moment of silence along the route. Pride made history in another way today. Not only is the parade 40 years old, and has grown to the center of civic life, but Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning served as Honorary Grand Marshall of the parade. He is the first openly gay man to serve in that capacity.
In 2011 San Diego Pride made history when openly gay military personnel marched before the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell. Today the parade made history again, when the first openly gay Secretary came, and served in this capacity. This is the first time that Fanning does this as well. He was confirmed on May 17, of this year as well.
Service members, both active duty and veterans also marched, including Veterans for Peace.
Dignitaries at Pride
This year the list of dignitaries that marched in the parade included Lt. Governor Gavin Newson, who marched along side Reverend Shane Harris of the National Action Network. This is the first time NAN San Diego takes places in this parade. But the list did not stop there. We also had Democratic Congresspersons Juan Vargas, Scott Peters and Susan Davis, all democrats.
At the state level, Speaker Emeritus of the Assembly currently running for the state Senate, Toni Atkins marched as well. Also Todd Gloria, who is termed out of the City Council and is currently running for Atkins seat in the assembly. Atkins was received warmly by the crowd, who know she was one of the first to serve in City Council and be open about it. She was not the first though.
Of course, Assembly Woman Lorena Gonzalez also marched.
As far as the city is concerned, Mayor Kevin Faulconer marched, with a contingent of both Democrats and Republicans. Termed out Council Member Sherri Leightner also made an appearance, and so did candidate for District 9 Georgette Gomez. She is also the first Latina running for city council who is openly LGBT.
Law Enforcement and Fire
San Diego law enforcement not just marched in the parade. They were received very warmly by the crowd, but also made sure things remained safe. Among them was Chief Shelley Zimmerman of San Diego Police Department, as well as Sheriff Will Gore. There were California Highway Patrol officers and La Mesa, as well as other departments,.
Taking care of the security of all attendees were La Mesa, Harbor, Chula Vista, Sheriffs, and of course San Diego Police, that we saw. There might have been other departments as well. Security was tight and obvious. As I was told by an attendee, after Orlando, this is they way it is and he did not mind it.
Of course San Diego Fire and Rescue not just marched in the parade, but was also present to attend to medical emergencies. We know there were a few, since it was quite warm
Local companies such as Sony and Qualcomm marched along side Macys and Walmart. There were also Union members, who marched one after the other. The Service Employees International Union, Unite Here, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. There were local groups as well, and for the first time the San Diego Padres joined the parade.
The parade, as always was opened with a motorcycle honor guard, and closed with an incredibly pride flag that people join from the crowd to carry. This is a San Diego tradition, and once the flag comes, people know it is time to go home. We did notice though, that the crowed started to thin before it was over, and it was the heat.
Oh and if you got a peacock feather, it has a meaning. That means pride.
We are also embedding a video with highlights.
People of Pride