Thousands celebrate as Oakland shows up for annual downtown Pride Parade and Festival

Anser Hassan Image
Monday, September 11, 2023
Thousands celebrate at Oakland Pride Parade and Festival
It is Pride weekend in Oakland, and the celebration hit its stride Sunday with the city's Pride parade through downtown.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It is Pride weekend in Oakland, and the celebration hit its stride Sunday with the city's Pride parade through downtown.

As has become tradition, first came the Dykes on Bikes. Leading off the 2023 Oakland Pride and Pride Fest.

"Great Pride weekend. This is huge for Oakland," said Nenna Joiner of Feelmore Social.

Small business owner and Oakland resident Neena Joiner was among the thousands who attended the parade that came through downtown Oakland.

WATCH: 2023 Oakland Pride Parade on ABC7

It was the first time ABC7 aired the Oakland Pride Parade. Hundreds of people gathered, marched and showed their spirit.

Anser Hassan: "You been having fun today?"

Marguerite Marandom, 8 years old, nodded.

Anser Hassan: "What has been the most exciting part?"

Marguerite Marandom: "Um, marching with my school."

PHOTOS: Oakland Pride Parade and Celebration 2023

Among the contingents this year were several schools, including the Oakland Unified School District.

Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest employers in Oakland, also marched.

"Where we see cities - large urban areas like Oakland -- and others around the country, as we learned through the pandemic, the biggest deficit and disparities exist in these communities," said Ronald Copeland from Kaiser Permanente. "For a lot of historic and current policy and practice reasons. And so we pay particular attention and partner exclusively in these environments to make sure we are making a difference."

East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee was the grand marshal. Others who took part included Pixar and various local churches and cultural organizations.

RELATED: Oakland Pridefest amplifies LGBTQ+ community with citywide celebration of diversity

"It's pretty much a time to have fun and feel free, you know?" said Sacramento resident Avril Cole.

After the parade was Pride Fest, where local artists could showcase their talents. Spooky Haus sells art made by Trans artists. Co-founder Mariam Levenson says the hot item this year.

"We have these incredible rainbow pins that everybody says is the hottest pride item of the year," Levenson said.

Oakland is facing a historic deficit and a summer crime spike. Joiner says events this like are big for the city. And go beyond just celebrating Pride.

"You have all the politicians, people running for office, but you also have the community organizations who want to see change in Oakland. Pride is not just about celebrating who we are. It is also celebrating who we want to be," Joiner said.


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