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    San Francisco Bay Times Pride Parade Contingent 2022

    The San Francisco Bay Times is a proud longtime media sponsor of the SF Pride Parade and has had multiple award-winning contingents over the years. For 2022, the Bay Times contingent will follow that of Grand Marshal (Member’s Choice) Melanie DeMore, who is one of the most outstanding vocal artists of today helping to preserve the African American Folk Tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding. She was a focus of the December 2, 2021, issue of the Bay Times and is the subject of the documentary Stick and Pound that showcases Gullah tradition.

    DeMore has a career spanning 30 years dedicated to teaching, lecturing, mentoring, conducting, directing, and inspiring children and adults about the power of song as social and political change. She is a sought-after presenter, conductor, and soloist at national and international choral and music festivals, including Festival 500 in Newfoundland, Canada, and Chorus America.

    She is a song/prayer facilitator, creating spontaneous choirs for the Trinity Institute, the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, and the Powell Foundation, as well as many varied spiritual and faith-based organizations. She is adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies, Master teaching artist in music for Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, a featured presenter for SpeakOut!—the Institute for Democratic Education and Culture, and was the Artistic Conductor of The Oakland Children’s Community Choir with Living Jazz for nine years.

    DeMore was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir and has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with such varied artists as Odetta, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, the Trinity Choir, MUSE Cincinnati Women’s Chorus, and many others.

    She is a three-time Grammy nominee and vocal activist who believes in the power of voices raised together. As she says, “A song can hold you up when there seems to be no ground beneath you.”

    Joining our contingent in support of DeMore and to celebrate Pride will be Betty Reid Soskin (see pages 2–3 of this issue) and Soskin’s daughter, SF Pride Board member Di’ara Melite Kitty Reid. Di’ara, a transgender rights activist, ran Reid’s Records in Berkeley for nearly two decades from 1990 to its closing in 2019.

    Also supporting DeMore will be Kin Folkz, a former SF Pride Grand Marshal who founded and co-founded numerous organizations. They include Spectrum Queer Media, Omni: The Bi/Pan/Trans Women and Transmen of Color Network, and the REVOLVE Creative Arts + Film Fest. Lauren Hewitt, the owner of the former Baybrick Inn—a popular lesbian guest house, bar, and club in the SOMA district of San Francisco—will be cheering on DeMore,

    Soskin will not be the only National Park Service (NPS) legend in the Bay Times contingent’s group for DeMore. It will also include retired Supervisory Park Ranger Elizabeth Tucker, an LGBTQ trailblazer. According to a recent report in The Richmond Standard, Tucker is a founding member of the GALA Yosemite Chapter (the Gay and Lesbian Association of the NPS), participated in the SF Pride Parade before the NPS permitted rangers to do so in uniform, and collaborated with Public Historian Donna Graves to create the first official LGBTQIA exhibit in a national park visitor center at Richmond’s Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park.

    Several out and proud music legends will also be cheering on DeMore from the Bay Times contingent. They include well-known pianist Tammy Hall (check out her bio at https://www.tammyhall.com) and Sharon Washington of the Washington Sisters who performed hundreds of concerts in the U.S. and Canada blending jazz, blues, gospel, and more as a basis for promoting women’s rights, pride, and cultural diversity.

    Members and supporters of the Bay Times team will also be in the contingent, such as television and radio personalities Jan Wahl and Liam Mayclem, Out & Equal Founder Selisse Berry, AGUILAS Executive Director Dr. Eduardo Morales, marriage equality activists John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney, Bay Times founding News Editor Randy Alfred, columnist Sister Dana Van Iquity of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Bay Times publishers Dr. Betty Sullivan and Jen Viegas, LaTonya Lawson of Celebrity Cruises, Beth Schnitzer of SpritzSF, winemaker Joe Shirley of Napa Cellars, Extreme Pizza founder Todd Parent and his daughter Tabitha, and many others.

    The Bay Times thanks contingent sponsors Napa Cellars, Extreme Pizza, Grubstake, La Méditerranée, ellaprint, and the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

    Published on June 23, 2022