Wed, Jun 03, 2020

Santa Cruz Pride: Today & Yesterday

Santa Cruz County is still sheltering in place, but that won't stop our pride. Our staff and the Diversity Center, along with the official organizers at Sanat Cruz Pride have teamed up to bring you VIRTUAL pride celebrations in lieu of the large gatherings and parades that normally take over the town. See all the events over at because even though we are physically distancing, we are definitely not social distancing!

If these events and our recent exhibition have you eager to learn more, get involved, and show your support of our LGBTQ+ neighbors, continue reading as we dive into the history of Pride and the local organizations who are doing incredible work in this space.

First, Off... What is Pride?

Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community that lasts the full month of June. The first Pride in the US happened in 1970 as a commemoration of the Stonewall riots that took place one year prior. These riots broke out when police raided a gay bar in New York called Stonewall Inn. Since 1970, Pride marches and celebrations have spread across the country and the world!

How Did it Come to Santa Cruz County?

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The 1960s and 1970s was a time of social upheaval in the USA in which many different communities found their voice. The Gay Rights Movement rose up alongside social justice initiatives like the Civil Rights Movement and the second wave of the Feminist Movement.

Inspired by others a group of folks in Santa Cruz County decided to join the conversation. In 1975, the Lesbian and Gay Men’s Union based at Cabrillo College put on our FIRST Santa Cruz Pride.

At that event, 200 people showed up and put their Pride on display for everyone to see. The event came to a close after 4 days of celebration at San Lorenzo Park. It was a joyous occasion that also made history. Santa Cruz Pride is the third oldest Pride celebration in all of California, with San Francisco coming in first and Los Angeles coming in second. In the 2000s, Watsonville and Pajaro Valley both created their own Pride celebrations.

Learn more about the history of Pride (& more!) in Santa Cruz in our virtual exhibition, Queer Santa Cruz.

Local Organizations Highlights

Santa Cruz County is home to trailblazers, creatives, space makers, and so much more. Here are some local organizations celebrating and preserving the history of our local LGBTQ+ community.

Santa Cruz Pride

Every first Sunday in June, the Santa Cruz County Community joins with the voices of LGBTQ+ communities and their allies around the world in celebration of Pride Month. The Santa Cruz Pride Parade & Festival has been made possible for 45+ years because of the - often brave - time, talent, and treasure contributions of our Santa Cruz County community members.

Diversity Center of Santa Cruz County

Each year, The Diversity Center reaches approximately 10,000 individuals through onsite programs, outreach, educational events, their work with school-based Gay/Straight Alliances, and their Triangle Speakers program. They advocate for, support, and celebrate all LGBTQ+ individuals in Santa Cruz County.

Motion Pacific

Motion Pacific is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to dance as art, cultivating imagination, community engagement and discipline through accessible dance education and presentation. In recent years they have developed programs and events for LGBTQ+ youth and adults in their space, many times donating portions of proceeds directly to the Diversity Center.

Queer Cruz

Queer Cruz is a fun, open to all Facebook community group that encourages creativity and participation in local LGBTQA events. Follow them to be the first to know about tons of inclusive and creative happenings all year long. You can look forward to Queer Happy Hours, Virtual Pet Parades, and spaces of general feel-goodery with other local Queer folks.

Santa Cruz Pride 2020 Events

Nothing can stop out pride!

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Visit the Exhibition

Explore the important contributions, impact, and history of the LGBTQ+ community in Santa Cruz County in our first 100% virtual exhibition.