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Gay Pride Comes to Castro Valley

A lively, colorful, grassroots rally of neighbors, family and friends in Castro Valley on Saturday featured pastors, public offiicals and other speakers who said, "We love you as you are."

There were a few protesters with signs equating being gay with perversion and sin, but the atmosphere at Saturday's first-ever gay pride rally in Castro Valley was largely bubbly and uplifting.

At least a couple of hundred people joined and Castro Valley residents and gay advocates and Blair Hansen at a homegrown event in the senior parking lot of Castro Valley High School.

Speakers included the organizers, public officials and pastors.

Bob Swanson, representative of Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley's office, said, "You have got to come out of the closet and let people know you're here."

Hayward City Councilman Bill Quirk said, "This rally is changing the image of Castro Valley. Ten years ago, this wouldn't have happened."

Reverend Dawn Roginski of the Bay Area Coalition of Welcoming Congregations said, "God loves you just the way you are."

Oakland Pride, whose members include Castro Valley residents, pitched in with the official fixtures that made the event acceptable in the eyes of the school district, which had worried about safety. Frank Ciglar, Oakland Pride's treasurer and a Castro Valley resident, by producing a plan for first aid, port-a-potties, cleanup and other arrangements.

Alameda County sheriff's deputies provided security.

As a for the event said, "This grassroots event will feature speakers, musicians and a group of people who understand that our gay friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors deserve the same love and respect that we all wish for."

Click here to see the Facebook event page.

Thomas Clarke July 25, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Good event. Congratulations Castro Valley. Well done.
Vicki Cosgrove July 25, 2011 at 03:42 PM
What Thomas said. It was good to be together and support our community.
Dana Leipold July 25, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Sorry I missed it but will share it on Facebook and Twitter. Castro Valley loves everyone! :-)
Leah Hall July 25, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Well, there goes the neighborhood.... :)
Rev. Bob Matthews July 25, 2011 at 06:00 PM
Thank you for posting this video. I'm especially happy to see it as an Alameda resident. I was proud to be able to represent my colleagues and members of the United Church of Christ as a speaker at this amazing and successful rally.
Barry Kane July 26, 2011 at 02:40 AM
Great job to the students of CVHS who took the chance to get this going...you go Castro Valley!
Holly Ann Z. July 26, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Wow, very well-done video, Jesse! I am very happy to see the positive feedback from you all! I'm glad you added the ending of my speech, I felt it was the most powerful part. :') Can't wait to do it all again next year! <3 -Holly Z.
Jesse Sternburg July 26, 2011 at 07:47 AM
Thanks so much Holly! You guys are rockstars!
Ann July 26, 2011 at 03:07 PM
This was an amazing event!! Castro Valley is an awesome place to live. Thanks to everyone involved , you all rock!!!
Linda July 26, 2011 at 05:54 PM
Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!
Katie Morrison July 26, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Congrats to the wonderful young people who dreamed up this positive witness for love. And yeah to all of the Castro Valley residents who came out to show their support. You are ALL welcome at our church... San Lorenzo Community Church (slzchurch.org), an open and affirming church where all God's children are embraced for WHO you are, not in spite of who you are.
Judie July 31, 2011 at 08:56 AM
CVHS has openly allowed demostrations to be held at the High School. So All American Students remember to wave the American Flag Proudly on Cinco De Mayo Day!!! The School Adminstration will not have a say in it.

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