By Sheri Williams
Unions and labor leaders across California joined with the LGBTQ+ community in June to celebrate Pride month.
This year’s celebration, and the inclusion of allies such as union labor, was especially important because of a spate of attacks that have targeted the community in recent months. That includes numerous bills attempting to limit civil rights against LGBTQ+ communities across the United States and hate groups such as the Proud Boys menacing drag and other LGBTQ+ events in California. Some elected leaders on school boards are also attempting to ban books that involve LGBTQ+ themes.
“LGBTQ+ rights are workers’ rights, and there is zero room for hate in our movement,” the Sacramento Central Labor Council wrote on its Facebook page. “We won’t stop fighting until every single working American can safely be their true, authentic self in the workplace and beyond.”
Sacramento Central Labor Council executive director Fabrizio Sasso added, “Inclusivity and standing up for civil rights have always been at the heart of the labor movement. We are proud to stand as members, allies, friends and family with the LGBTQ+ community.”
The California School Employees Association added that Pride month is, “a time for breaking down barriers and building up inclusion. CSEA is proud to recognize the contributions of our LGBTQ community and union members.”
And SMUD, which has many union employees, marched in the Sacramento Pride Parade.
“We had an absolute blast at today’s Sacramento Pride parade,” the energy provider wrote on its social media. “SMUD Board Vice President Rosanna Herber was a grandstand announcer and she, alongside SMUD Board Members Gregg Fishman and Brandon Rose, joined Team SMUD to march in full support of the LGBTQ+ community.
It was an incredible celebration of love, diversity and inclusivity. We’re proud to stand alongside our LGBTQ+ community to continue fostering an environment, here in Sacramento and beyond, where everyone feels valued and respected.”
Pride month was also celebrated at the State Capitol in June, with legislators honoring 15 LGBTQ+ leaders in both the Senate and the Assembly. There are more LGBTQ+ legislators now serving in the Capitol than any time before.
This year’s ceremony honored icons including tennis legend Billie Jean King and San Francisco’s Sister Roma of the Nuns of Perpetual Indulgence. The Nuns of Perpetual Indulgence were the target of an anti-LGBTQ effort earlier when the L.A. Dodgers rescinded an invitation to honor them at Pride Night after protests from some Catholics, then again invited the Sisters after facing backlash.
Toni Atkins, the first LGBTQ+ woman to lead the state Senate, called the protest of their inclusion at the Capitol event a “misguided distraction.”
“Sister Roma and all this year’s honorees are deserving of being celebrated for their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community and California,” Atkins said in a statement.