May 21, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Pride Moment Comes Full Circle for LGBTQ+ Advocate

Boys & Girls Club holds second annual Gabriel Valley Pride March

By Susan Payne

The Boys & Girls Clubs of West San Gabriel Valley and Eastside saw more than 400 youth, staff and community members in its second annual San Gabriel Valley Pride March in June. 

Music, giveaway, artwork and more kept the march — co-hosted by the City of Monterey Park and Alhambra Teachers Association — positive and inclusive for all, according to The Los Angeles Blade. 

“We know young people thrive when they feel a sense of belonging, and our Clubs provide a safe, positive environment for all. Our goal is to create a space for kids to feel comfortable and ultimately become productive citizens,” JR Dzubak, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of West San Gabriel Valley & Eastside told The Blade. “We’re proud to support the diversity of our Club youth, families, staff and community members and work toward a more inclusive future.”

Last year, a former Club youth member and current employee Angel Silva organized the march. Silva, 20, has progressed from struggling with his sexual orientation as an adolescent to becoming a valued employee of the Club, which has been a safe haven for him, according to The Blade. Silva became a member in third grade, and never thought he would grow up to become the Club’s leading LGBTQ+ advocate as a proud, out gay man.

In June of 2020, Silva graduated high school and raised the first Pride flag outside of the Club. One year later, he launched the Pride March in San Gabriel Valley. 

“Boys & Girls Clubs of West San Gabriel Valley is a trailblazing youth organization. The Club does a phenomenal job of celebrating Pride 365 days a year, 24/7. That’s the honest truth,” said Silva. “Since I was a young child, the Club has been there for me and always has encouraged me to be myself. Now as an employee at the Club, I’m so excited to create more inclusive programming and help others the way the Club helped me.”

in NEWS
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