SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In a rural town like Loomis, in Placer County, resources and support for the LGBTQ+ community can be hard to find. One congregation is working to change that, and this year their Pastor is being recognized as Community Grand Marshal of Sacramento Pride.
Pastor Casey Tinnin joined the Loomis Basin Congregational United Church of Christ (LBUCC) in 2016. That's where he founded The Landing spot, a faith support group for LGBTQ+ teens and their caregivers.
“There are a lot of families who feel sort of lost, like they don’t have any place to go to talk about their needs or get resources for helping their LGBT teens come out or transition," Tinnin said. "The Landing Spot has provided that space where there was not one.”
Since the group was formed, Tinnin said he's seen a change in the community.
“It’s been fascinating for me to see our community grow and see parents, not just kids come out, but parents come out and be courageous in telling their neighbors and their families and their friends how proud they are of their children.”
It's work like this that prompted a parent in the Landing Spot community to nominate Pastor Tinnin for Pride Grand Marshal. Something he says he is overwhelming proud of —because it shows that the congregation's efforts are making an impact.
"It’s an affirmation of the work that the community is doing together," he said. "It’s an affirmation of my church, that has been so gracious in providing a space and seeing my vision to make this happen…and it’s certainly…it encourages us to continue to work because there’s a lot to be done in Placer County, and in the surrounding area quite frankly."
This year Pride events coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 - where the New York City LGBTQ+ community fought back against police officers who raided a gay club in the city's famous Greenwich Village.
To commemorate the occasion, the 2019 theme for Sacramento Pride theme is "A Legacy of Stonewall." It's a theme that Tinnin wants festival goers to think about.
“We stand on the shoulders of giants. And we cannot forget that it was trans women of color that led the riots at Stonewall. It’s because of their efforts that we have continued to grow and our movement has changed," he said. "I think that it is tragic and we need to recognize that it is still trans women of color who still receive the most violence and brutality by police. And we cannot truly rise as an LGBT community until we rise together.”
Dozens of people were nominated for Sacramento Pride Grand Marshal this year, and from those, 5,400 people cast their vote to tell the Sacramento LGBT Community Center their pick.
With such a large turnout of voters, the Community Center decided to recognize three people this year. Community Grand Marshall Casey Tinnin garnered the most votes but will be joined by Grand Marshals Ebony Harper and Tiffany Lorenz.
Harper is an "award-winning national activist and philanthropist who fights for the rights of trans citizens and other marginalized groups." Lorenz is the producer of Gender Flux, and advocate for consent and abuse awareness and is the first Ms. Sacramento Leather in 20 years.
They're a diverse group of activists and positive LGBTQ+ role models that the Community Center is proud to honor this weekend.
“We were very happy to see that our diverse community chose very diverse grand marshals," said Krystal Peak, the Community Center spokesperson.“We’re really excited to celebrate their activism in the community.”
Time: 11 a.m.
Date: Sunday, June 9
Route: The march will begin at Southside Park, go east on T Street, north on 10th Street and end at Capitol Mall.
Mariah Lopez, 16, knows what it is like to be homeless. Two years ago, her parents divorced, leaving her mother and two siblings on the streets of Stockton. When she learned there were other homeless kids at her school, she wanted to help.