Vice Mayor Cindy Allen talks about Long Beach hosting 2024 Pride Parade – Orange County Register

Long Beach’s Pride Parade has become one of the city’s most popular events, with thousands of residents and visitors annually converging on Ocean Boulevard to celebrate.

But this year’s Pride Parade is also notable for a behind-the-scenes change: For the first time in the LGBTQ celebration’s four-decade history, the parade won’t be organized by the nonprofit Long Beach Pride — but by the city.

Long Beach Pride, the nonprofit that has organized every previous parade and celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, asked the city for financial help in January as it works to restructure. The nonprofit has been beset by several challenges in recent years, including the coronavirus pandemic and the death of several of its members, including co-founder Bob Crow, who died in September.

The quicker turnaround, with the parade returning to May after taking place in August last year, was another obstacle.

So city officials agreed to host and pay for this year’s parade. (LB Pride will still host the two-day festival). The 41st Long Beach Pride Parade will take place on Sunday, May 19.

It will cost the city an estimated $130,000 to put on the parade, and the City Council OK’d $80,000 in one-time funds to help pay for the parade during its Feb. 13 mid-year budget review. Another $50,000 is set to come from Vice Mayor Cindy Allen’s one-time District 2 funds.

Allen, whose district includes the Broadway corridor that has long been the center of Long Beach’s LGBTQ community, was the one who initially brought Long Beach Pride’s request for help before the council.

In a recent interview, the vice mayor talked about the city taking on the Pride Parade this year, why she led those efforts and what the future may hold for the annual celebration.  Answers are lightly edited for clarity and style.

Question:What’s it like having the Pride Parade happen in your district each year?

Answer: I couldn’t be prouder to represent the Pride Parade, because it’s a long tradition in Council District 2, plus the Pride headquarters are here. So much of District 2 is composed of LGBTQ members, and plus, I am a mom of an LGBTQ daughter.

It always makes me really proud to see everyone coming together, and especially now, when we’re looking at what’s happening in our country, and you look at the Supreme Court pulling back on Roe v. Wade and (possibly) marriage equality rights — you’ve heard them already talking about that.

So I think this year’s Pride Parade is even more meaningful, because when you’re talking about stripping people of their rights, it means a lot that we get out in the community. The LGBTQ community has a long history of banding together and I think that this exemplifies what the parade (and) really what Long Beach is all about, and especially what District 2 is all about: Making sure that we will continue to fight for the rights of everyone, to marry and love who they want. That’s what the Pride Parade is all about.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you learned the Long Beach Pride nonprofit may not be able to put on the parade this year?

A: I understood because moving the parade up to May, it’s taxing on a very small nonprofit organization. But I think it’s something that we had to do. I think the community was very loud and clear that they wanted (the parade) in the third week of May. One of the things I thought about is what can we do as a city. We help facilitate other parades throughout the city, so let us help Pride this year.

We stepped in and we’re helping this this year, and I suspect that next year, they’ll be able to (host it again). They’ll have a full year to plan this again, but in that short period, we had to do that.

This is such an important event in the city of Long Beach. People will talk about the Grand Prix and they talk about Pride. And we also have the Queen Mary but when you talk about events, this is right up there with the Grand Prix and so people know us for that and so this is too important of an event and of a parade for us not to step in and help.

Q: What goes into organizing a parade of this magnitude?

A: A lot of the fundamentals are already there, so we’re not starting from new like we’ve had to do with other parades. Our city staff, our events department, is really good at this and I applaud them. They just stepped in and helped out. So big kudos to Tasha Day (the city’s special events and filming manager) and special events for really agreeing to help out. This was something that the city manager and other electeds really got behind and said, ‘This is too important.’

We have 144 folks that have applied to be in this year’s parade, so it’s going to be one of the biggest — it’s probably going to be about a three-hour parade. It’s going to be a big one.

But we definitely needed the city’s help. I mean you can imagine: that many entries in the parade is going to be a really big event, so we needed all hands on deck, including my staff. I had to say to the District 2 team, ‘We’re going to take this on, but you all know that we’re all working this event; it’s all hands on deck to make sure that this runs smoothly, everybody has a good time and everybody gets home safely.’

Q: What does the parade mean to you personally?

A: It’s really important to me. As I said, I represent a lot of the LGBTQ community, and so this is one of the ways that we can come together.

When you think about it, within the LGBTQ community, there are a lot of different facets. You might have some of the older LGBTQ people and part of the festival after the parade, we’re going to have the senior serenity zone. We also have a sober Pride area for people that are in their sobriety so they can still come out. And we have our Family Fun Zone, where you can come and bring your kids. There’s a health hub that’s put on by the Long Beach health department, where you can go and get testing done. And another thing that I really love that’s going to be available at the festival is the Arts Alley – and that’s from the Arts Council for Long Beach – where people can see all the local art.

But specifically the parade, that’s where we get everybody pumped up. We get everyone together, and then hopefully folks will head over to the festival.

Q: Is there anything else that you are looking forward to at the parade?

A: I look forward to all of our grand marshals. I mean, to come out and see the grand marshals and spend a couple of hours to enjoy the neighborhood and your neighbors, it’s a happy time. You can come out and see this parade and you can’t help but smile and get in a good mood, because people are all about being there for each other, love and celebrating the LGBTQ community.

I hope that we break all kinds of records. We broke records with attendance for the Grand Prix, so I hope we break records with attendance for the Pride Parade this year. I hope that everyone comes out and has a really good time, and we have to keep uplifting our LGBTQ community. This is the time for us to do that.

#Vice #Mayor #Cindy #Allen #talks #Long #Beach #hosting #Pride #Parade #Orange #County #Register

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *