Long time Sunnyside resident David Tejeda is featured in the Bay Area Reporter highlighting his long-serving volunteers in the Pride parade. He was recognized by Pride officials at the post-parade volunteer appreciation party two years ago as the organization’s longest surviving volunteer.
Thanks David for your service.
Original article: http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=69833
SF parade volunteer continues his long service
by Khaled Sayed
|Look for longtime San Francisco Pride volunteer David Tejeda at the end of the route at this year’s parade.(Photo: Khaled Sayed)|
There are hundreds of volunteers that make the San Francisco LGBT Pride parade and festival a success. But one San Francisco gay man has been helping out for decades.
David Tejeda, a building contractor, is believed to be one of the longest-serving volunteers in the Pride parade. He was recognized by Pride officials at the post-parade volunteer appreciation party two years ago as the organization’s longest surviving volunteer, he said.
His first parade was 1976 and that year, according to the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee website, the event started on Pine Street and made its way to Duboce Park.
Celebrating Pride Month has become a tradition all over the world. San Francisco’s Pride parade, called Gay Freedom Day back then, was one of the first that started an amazing tradition of celebrating LGBTQ culture, politics, and activism.
According to the Pride Committee, the city’s first Pride march was held June 28, 1970 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, which is generally viewed as the birth of the modern gay rights movement.
There was apparently no official event in 1971, but in 1972 a parade was held and in those days it ended on Polk Street.
Now San Francisco Pride is the largest event of its type in the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal.
Tejeda, 66, has been volunteering for 31 years. He helped out off and on from 1976 to 1998, and since then has volunteered every year. In recent years he has been posted at the end of the parade route, at Market and 8th streets.
“It’s been said that the parade comes to me,” he quipped.
Marsha Levine, Pride board vice president and the longtime parade manager, confirmed that Tejeda has been with the Pride Committee for many years.
“He was an operations volunteer from 1998 to 2010,” Levine said. “In 2010 he transitioned to a safety volunteer and began assisting the parade team by working in the dispersal area at Eighth Street and Market.”
Tejeda has seen the parade route change and its size increase.
“I have watched the Parade go from one-half of Polk Street for a few blocks to the largest event of it type in the U.S,” he said
One of Tejeda’s fondest memories is shaking former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s hand, despite all the security protecting him.
Another memory Tejeda holds dear to his heart was last year when his nephew and his wife showed up and surprised him during the parade.
“They took a picture of me during a slow point, sitting in the middle of Market and 8th Street. They later told me they had a great time,” Tejeda said.
Tejeda has lived in lots of places, among them Munich, Germany; Puerto Rico; southern California; Seattle; and Okinawa, Japan.
“Then for college I moved to the Bay Area and eventually into San Francisco in 1976 – and never left,” he said.
Tejeda is married to Michael Gagne, who contributes to the community as the volunteer board president of Tenderloin Tessie, the nonprofit that provides holiday dinners to those in need.
One of the reasons Tejeda volunteers is to help make the world a better place for future generations.
“I also want to make sure younger gay generations don’t forget about the struggles that it took to get to where we are today,” Tejeda said. “That nobody handed our civil rights to us.”
Tejeda said he is thrilled to be part of Pride.