Phill Wilson, an LA-based activist who founded the Black AIDS Institute, has been named “community grand marshal” for this year’s LA Pride Parade and the LA LGBT Center has been named the parade’s “organizational grand marshal.”
The parade, which first began in 1970, will occur on June 9 on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. It typically attracts thousands of participants representing local LGBTQ non-profit organizations as well as floats sponsored by local bars and other businesses and national brands.
“I am honored to be a part of this year’s Pride celebration,” Wilson said in an announcement of his selection. “The LGBTQI community has come a long way in the last 50 years. It has not been without heartache, pain, sacrifice and growth. I am humbled to be among such a powerful and diverse group of grand marshals. Together we represent how much stronger we are when we celebrate all of what we are.”
Wilson and his partner were diagnosed with AIDS in the early 1980s. Since moving to Los Angeles, he has served as the director of Policy and Planning for the AIDS Project, AIDS coordinator for Los Angeles, co-chair of the Los Angeles HIV Health Commission and a member of the HRSA AIDS Advisory Committee. He founded the Black AIDS Institute in 1999 and was appointed to President Obama’s advisory council on HIV/AIDS. “As the founder of the Black AIDS Institute and prominent African American HIV/AIDS activist, his dedication and countless effort toward ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic bring the community closer to health equity,” says an announcement from Christopher Street West, the non-profit that stages the annual LA Pride festival and parade..
The Los Angeles LGBT Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has supported the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles since 1969 and today provides services and programs for more LGBTQ people than any other organization in the world.
“It is truly an honor to be one of this year’s L.A. Pride grand marshals, and we cannot wait to celebrate with our community,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “This is the Center’s 50th anniversary year and what better way to celebrate all of our community’s strength and resilience, power, and pride!”
CSW also has announced that it has entered into a three-year agreement with KABC, the Southern California television station, to broadcast the annual parade.
“As the exclusive television and digital broadcast partner, KABC … will also feature pre-parade coverage throughout Eyewitness News on Sunday morning,” CSW announced. “Star and executive producer of Disney Channel’s ‘Raven’s Home’ and proud member of the LGBTQ community, Raven-Symoné, will join KABC’s Ellen Leyva and Brandi Hitt as they co-host the two-hour live broadcast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., from parade central at Holloway Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard. Also joining the ABC7 team along the parade route will be Eyewitness News reporter Veronica Miracle and OTRC entertainment host, Karl Schmid. A pre-parade preview show will also air on Saturday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m.”
“We’re proud to bring the LA Pride Parade celebration to viewers across Southern California,” said Cheryl Fair, president and general manager, KABC. “Our collaboration with LA Pride is a commitment to reflecting and serving the diverse communities that represent our audience.”
“We are humbled and honored to have Phill Wilson and the Los Angeles LGBT Center serve as the grand marshals for LA Pride 2019,” said Estevan Montemayor, CSW board president. “Together, these people and the organizations they represent have made an indelible and important mark on the LGBTQ+ community that has improved and enriched the lives of many individuals who have faced so much adversity. Our grand marshals inspire us, empower us and are examples of how to unite our community. We are so excited that KABC is here to increase the awareness of our grand marshals and LA Pride.”
Ticket sales and proceeds from the LA Pride Festival support and fund the LA Pride Parade and CSW’s philanthropic efforts. This includes community-wide programs like Casa del Sol, a joint project with APLA Health that provides low-income housing to people living with HIV/AIDS, and PLATform, a policy, leadership, and advocacy training program to help amplify the voices of the transgender community. Proceeds also benefit the USC GLASS Endowed Scholarship, a grant program awarded to students to help them conduct research affirming the important role the LGBTQ+ community plays in society today. Funds raised will also help CSW prepare for its 50th anniversary in 2020.
To learn more about LA Pride, purchase tickets, get event updates and be added to the CSW email list visit lapride.org.
Good man. This news makes me happy.
Phill Wilson has been a tireless community hero for decades; it is wonderful that CSW is honoring a community icon. Phill was a personal inspiration during the darkest days of the AIDS pandemic and I am excited that he is being honored.
I am completely wowed by the work that the new leadership at CSW is doing to inject Pride with amazing new energy. To see true community grand marshals, both Phill as an individual, and Lori representing the Center, is a nice change of pace from the times when grand marshals were heiresses and reality TV stars.