Oakland LGBTQ Community Center celebrates 5 years ahead of Pridefest

Oakland LGBTQ Community Center Celebrates Milestone This Week Before Sunday Pride in the city. This week marks the fifth anniversary of the center’s opening.

“Before opening the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, Oakland was the only major city in the state that didn’t have a center,” said Joe Hawkins, CEO and co-founder of the center. “So we were able to help our community in a way they had never been helped before.”

Today, the center offers an ever-growing list of services, from housing assistance and a medical clinic, to support groups and a youth centre, to name a few.

“Just think of people in shared living situations here in the Bay Area who may not want trans people to live with them, and we still have a very high number of parents who reject their LGBTQ youth” , Hawkins said.

Hawkins said he hopes to use this weekend’s Pridefest Oakland, of which his center is the main sponsor, as a chance to encourage anyone who may need his services to come through the center’s doors at 3207 Lakeshore. Ave.

“During the pandemic, it was very difficult to engage with the community to get information about what’s going on, where the resources are,” Hawkins said.

Lately, the center has also been one of the main suppliers of the monkeypox or Mpox vaccine in the city. This month, the US Department of Health announced plans to send an additional 2,400 doses of the Mpox vaccine to distribute at Oakland Pride events.

“We really want to reach those most at risk,” Hawkins said. “I think we have enough doses right now to handle people who want to be vaccinated.”

Hawkins described Pridefest Oakland as a day for the community to learn about and access key services, but most importantly, to unwind with music and have fun after what has been difficult for a few years in the middle of the pandemic.

“We’ve been so disconnected for so long. It’s time for us to come together. Let’s really celebrate,” Hawkins said.

Pridefest Oakland kicks off Sunday at 11 a.m. at 8 p.m. and Broadway and runs until 6 p.m.

Jill E. Washington