SJ Pride Center honors local LGBTQ+ leaders

Amara Del Prato, Entertainment Editor

Last month, San Joaquin Pride Center held its annual Pride Honors Event to celebrate local influential members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially those who have made significant strides for the community in the past year.
One noteworthy example is Lisa Cooper-Wilkins, who was the recipient of the Education Champion Award. She received the award for reaching out to the Pride Center and asking them to evaluate how Delta College supported their LGBTQ+ students, rather than hiring from an outside, large organization. Her decision sparked the re-opening of the campus Pride Center, along with a resurgence of LGBTQ+ sensitivity trainings at Delta College.
State Senator Cathleen Galgiani was also honored; she received the Legacy Award, which acknowledged her long history of advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in government, along with her inspiring story of coming out as gay while maintaining a position in government. She founded San Joaquin’s first LGBTQ+ political club in the early 1990’s — a time when San Joaquin County was still split over the controversy surrounding gay rights. Today, she continues to fight for LGBTQ+ causes by voicing her support for the newer and younger members of the LGBTQ+ community and recognizing their struggles.
“It sickens me that young people would think about taking their lives because of who they are,” Galgiani said in an interview with “The Record.”
Other honorees included Elyas Parsa, who accepted the Community Award for the creation of the San Joaquin County Gender Health Clinic, and Kacie Anderson, who received the Special Recognition Award for her coordination of the center’s numerous events over the years.
The Pride Honors Center has been bringing recognition to important figures of the San Joaquin LGBTQ+ community since 2012, and they frequently organize events to cultivate a strong support system for the community.
Every year, the Pride Center invites members of the Bear Creek Pride Club to go on a free trip to San Francisco. Students get to visit historical pride museums and interact with their LGBTQ+ peers. Also, the center is planning to host a Red Carpet Gala to raise funds for the center, which will take place on Feb. 24 at the Brookside Country Club from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $55 per person. For more information, contact Nicholas Hatten at nhatten@sjpridecenter.org or refer to the Pride Center’s official website: sjpridecenter.org.

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