The grand marshals at this year’s Pride parade will be a couple, Perry Lang and Ken Monteiro, the first African Americans to be honored in this way.
Lang and Monteiro are well known activists in the African American community on a wide range of issues.
Lang is a former journalist who worked for 10 years at the San Francisco Chronicle. He also co-founded the Bay Area Black Journalists Association and was vice president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
He currently serves as executive director of the Black Coalition on Aids and its Rafiki Wellness Services.
Monteiro has worked in higher education for the past 30 years. He has held faculty positions at Rutgers University and the University of Illinois, before taking a position at San Francisco State University.
At San Francisco State, he has been a professor and chair of the Psychology Department, dean of Human Relations and is currently dean of the College of Ethnic Studies.
The couple’s history of activism is what motivated the Pride organization to acknowledge them, according to Lisa Williams, board president of SF Pride.
“As long-time advocates for justice and equality, Perry and Ken not only champion LGBT issues but other issues that affect our communities such as HIV/AIDS, education and economic development,” said Williams.
As grand marshals, they will be sharing a float with Attorney General Kamala Harris, philanthropist Alvin Baum and celebrities Tabatha Coffey, Alex Newell and Cheyenne Jackson.
Lang says he is honored to be in this year’s parade. “What we want to do is to build bridges across communities. This is a opportunity for that,” he said.
“Barack Obama got elected, because he built an amazing coalition of Black people, Latinos, Asians and mainstream gays,” said Lang. “We must do the same thing amongst various communities in the name of social justice issues.”
Monteiro is also proud to be honored. “Pride and its leadership have become more diverse,” he said. “But it’s more than a party. It’s about promoting justice (that is) built by a new coalition across the various intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and religion.”
Lang and Monteiro have been in a committed relationship since 1990. They have three children, three grandchildren and an extended biological and spiritual family network.
They are active in the African American Action Network, the NAACP, Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition and the Interfaith Circle.
The SF Pride Parade, with more than 250 parade contingents, kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 30 at Market & Beale and ends at Market & 8th Street.