SAN JOSE, Calif. - Elected officials and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community gathered at San Jose City Hall Tuesday to help kick off Silicon Valley Pride Week. It’s the largest Pride celebration in the South Bay, including a parade and festival this weekend in San Jose.
The mood was pretty festive at City Hall. A few people spoke about recent attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and how despite those incidents, they’ll continue to be proud.
"We cannot just celebrate in June, and we cannot just celebrate in August. We got to make sure that we are loud and proud 365 days," said Omar Torres, San Jose City Council member, Dist. 3.
Dozens of people gathered just outside of San Jose City Hall for a flag-raising ceremony in honor of Silicon Valley Pride. The ceremony included presentations by the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus and other artists. This week Pride events will be held throughout the South Bay to encourage unity, respect and celebration of the community.
"With what we just saw in L.A., I think it’s more important than ever that the elected officials, especially the local leaders that support us, show up and recognize that," said Nicole Altamirano, Silicon Valley Pride CEO.
Last week just east of Los Angeles, 66-year-old Laura Ann Carleton was shot and killed after arguing with a man because she chose to fly a pride flag at her store.
"People’s negativity and bigotry has been emboldened and for some reason, they’ve decided it’s much easier to be bigoted about the LGBTQ+ community right now," said Gabrielle Antolovich, President of the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center in San Jose.
Silicon Valley Pride began in 1975 in San Jose as a gay rights rally and has evolved into a week-long celebration that includes multiple events throughout the South Bay, a parade and festival. At the flag-raising, Council members also talked about their own reasons for being staunch supporters of the LGBTQ+ community.
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"Many of you know that my brother Tim passed away from AIDS. He’s one of the number reasons that I am such an advocate and supporter of LGBTQ rights, but there are others. My daughter, my friends and their children," said Pam Foley, San Jose City Council member Dist. 9.
There are Silicon Valley Pride events happening every day this week until Sunday when organizers host the parade and festival in downtown San Jose.