SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Silicon Valley Pride kicks off a virtual celebration Saturday that highlights the organization’s concern and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and nationwide protests for racial justice.
“We are just echoing what this country is feeling right now — this need for change and for equal rights across all color lines and sexual orientation,” says Nicole Altamirano, Silicon Valley Pride Interim CEO.
Silicon Valley Pride’s organizers said they’ve been scrambling for the past few months to convert their traditional, in-person parade and celebration into an online event. Organizers say this year’s event unfolds against the backdrop of ongoing protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis Police.
“I personally believe that black lives matter because black lives are gay lives, they’re queer lives, they’re lesbian lives. And standing up for Black Lives Matters means you’re standing up for my rights too,” says Bryan Rodriguez, Silicon Valley Pride’s Chief Community Engagement Officer.
Historically, the civil rights movements, and the quest for greater acceptance and equality by the LGBTQ community, were viewed as distinct movements for social justice. But organizers of Silicon Valley Pride say that thinking is outdated, representing a false choice.
“This notion that civil rights was exclusively about black and white issues is very short-sighted. If I’m also born gay, why should I be excluded from the discussion?,” says Bob Rucker, a SJSU Journalism Professor who is black and gay.
Rucker says this new generation of activists is more to view their work as part of a broader struggle for equality for everyone.
“If we work together, we have a better chance of winning every fight. Not just our own little fight,” says Gabrielle Antolovich, Billy DeFrank Center Board President.