SF parade volunteer continues his long service

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.

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