Northern California’s second largest pride Celebration, Oakland Pride, kicks off its third year on Sunday, September 2, Labor Day Weekend from 11am-7pm (Main gate entrance is at Broadway and Thomas L Berkley Way in front of Sears). The gate fee is $10 for attendees over 12 years of age and $5 if under that age. This year’s festival theme is “It’s A Celebration” and will feature a multicultural array of world class entertainment, family fun and participation from community based organizations.

With attendance expected to be over 50,000, Oakland Pride is ready to entertain with four pride stages showcasing over 60 different performers to include on the Pride Stage, Billboard chart topping dance diva Ce Ce Peniston. At the beginning of the nineties, Ce Ce was considered to be one of the most successful dance club artists in the history of the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play, scoring five major number one hits in the chart within three years. Her signature song “Finally” (#5 in the Hot 100 and #2 in UK Top 75) became one of the biggest dance singles, selling three million copies worldwide. Performing on the Latin Stage is the popular Mexican group K-Paz de la Sierra, a “Duranguense” (genre of Mexican music) band. Hip Hop acts will also be performing on two stages. Hip Hop female rapper, Rah Digga, will perform on the Women’s stage and hot new Bay Area Hip Hop group Clyde Carson ft. The Team, will be on the Urban Soul stage.

The 2012 Oakland Pride theme, “It’s A Celebration”, reflects the progress that Oakland and the Bay Area as a whole is making towards equality for all of it’s resident’s. When asked about examples of progress for LGBTQ people in Oakland and the Bay area, former board member and Oakland Pride co-founder Joe Hawkins said, “Politically, since Oakland Pride began, we have elected Oakland’s first out lesbian, Rebecca Kaplan to the city council (Member At Large), who is currently facing a challenger and we must vote for her so that we don’t lose that seat. We elected the nation’s first ever openly Transgender U.S. trial court judge Victoria Kolakowski, right here in Alameda County, and currently we have an out gay man, Sean Sullivan running for city council and Richard Fuentes who is running for a seat on the Oakland School Board in District 3. Add to all of this the fact that we are the most ethnically diverse city, not just Northern California, but in the entire Pacific Northwest, you can see why we have so much to celebrate as LGBTQ people.”

Oakland Pride Chair, Amber Todd, stated ” Oakland is one of only a few cities that the U.S. Census reported as having the highest concentration of both LGBTQ families with children and in the previous two years, the media, artists and attendees all remarked how Oakland’s Pride Celebration was unlike any other in the Bay Area and that there was a sizable abundance of children and elders. Our family focused programming embraces a diverse community that has resulted in positive celebration that the Oakland Pride organization plans to repeat again this year. As a mother and resident of this city, I embrace the fact that women, children, and families are an integral part of the Oakland’s LGBTQ community and it makes me proud.”

New to this year’s celebration is the addition of an official after party “Sunday Block Party & Mega Dance Event” from 6pm-12am (6pm-4am for the nightclub) and features world class deejays and special performances, directly in front of one of Oakland’s most popular nightclubs the Bench & Bar, located at 510 17th St. The after party and block party is an 18+ event (21+ for nightclub).

Oakland Pride and our community and corporate partners are connecting LGBTQ community members to essential services and programs, including HIV prevention, support for people of color, women, seniors/elders, youth, economic development, people with disabilities, Transgender services, support groups, and so much more!

Oakland Pride is made possible with the help of our amazing volunteers and the generous contributions from major and community sponsors to include; East Bay Express, Clear Channel, BART, Alameda County Office of AIDS Administration, KOFY T.V, PG&E, EBMUD,Bench & Bar & Club 21 Nightclubs, Gloss Magazine, Coors Light, Honda of Oakland, Oakland Children’s Fairyland, Wells Fargo, Mini of Concord, Marriott Oakland City Center, The City of Oakland and many more.

It is the mission of Oakland Pride to celebrate the cultures and diversity of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community in Oakland and the East Bay. We are dedicated to educating the greater community, and promoting equality, civic involvement and responsibility within Oakland and neighboring communities. Oakland Pride is committed to facilitating leadership and coalition building for the funding and development of the first LGBTQ Community Center in Oakland for everyone.

For a complete list of sponsors, and more information, please visit our website at www.oaklandpride.org #

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