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Updated: How the Rainbow Rally Got Back on Track

Put on hold Wednesday, the event got a green light today as school district officials worked out security concerns.

Saturday's 12:30 p.m. "" at Castro Valley High School's senior parking lot will go on as scheduled, organizers said.

On Wednesday, the event was put on hold while school district officials evaluated security concerns that arose because of the event's apparent popularity, said Mike Bush, assistant superintendent at Castro Valley Unified School District.

Arrangements have been made for first aid, port-a-potties and the presence of Alameda County sheriff's deputies, Bush said.

Frank Ciglar, a Castro Valley resident and treasurer of Oakland Pride, stepped up with an event control plan that answered all of the school district's concerns, Bush said.

"Oakland Pride has a lot of experience. They were quite aware of our concerns and had the ability to address them," Bush said.

Ciglar, Bush, the three student organizers and another CVHS graduate who also has been helping the students met in the parking lot Thursday to work out details.

"At 12:30 today we got the green light," Ciglar said.

The rally is not a school event. It began in the mind of 17-year-old Frankie Canto, who wanted to organize Castro Valley's first-ever gay pride march down Castro Valley Boulevard. He told his friend Johna Murch. Then she told Holly Zeitz, and the three got right to work.

Word spread, and soon it became clear the march would hinder traffic. Organizers got a permit from the school district to hold a rally instead at the high school parking lot.

"It's bigger than any of us expected it to be," Murch said.

By Wednesday, more than 300 people had responded "yes" to a Facebook event page about the rally, and that's when school officials became worried. 

"This whole thing started out loosely structured, with 20 people initially. Support for it grew quickly," said Bush. "No one's faulting anyone. It's just become larger than they thought." 

The student organizers were crushed. "I got up this morning thinking it was going to be canceled and it would just have to be rescheduled for next year," Murch said.

But when she and her friends arrived for the meeting, Ciglar and Bush were already discussing clean-up plans and she realized there was hope.

"Hearing that we could still do it was amazing and we’re all really excited," she said. "We all had big smiles on our faces."

Murch said her primary motive was to create a loving atmosphere for people who worry they won't be accepted as they are.

"For years, I felt that I was alone and had no one to go to," Murch said of her junior high school days. "I want to be there for other people."

Steve Ontiveros July 21, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Big props to our School District for making this a reality - thanks CVUSD!
Lauren Edwards July 21, 2011 at 09:00 PM
An organization called Oakland Pride came in with an entire plan that settled all the school district's concerns. Just got off the phone with district. Updating the story now.

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