LONG BEACH, Calif. (September 14, 2023) – Long Beach Pride, to host its first Membership Installation Dinner for the Community, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Saturday, September 23, 2023, at Hamburger Mary’s Long Beach, 330 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802.

This past year Long Beach Pride celebrated its 40th Anniversary. With the passing of a new year so comes a new President and Board of Directors. Historically, the organization hosted a private ceremony to honor the all-volunteer membership. To expand their community bond, the newly elected President and Board of Directors unanimously voted to host this year’s installation dinner as a public event.

“I truly believe that Long Beach Pride is the “Community’s Pride” and we must start making the changes to strengthen our core. May this event serve as a valuable first step”, said Tonya Martin, newly elected Long Beach Pride President. “I am honored to be working for our community with an incredible and dedicated Board. It is worldwide Pride events like Long Beach Pride, that celebrates past achievements and identifies the needs for advocacy in order for our community to surge forward,” continued Martin.

LGBTQ+ people continue to face discrimination in their personal lives, in the workplace and the public sphere, and in their access to critical health care. This experience of discrimination leads to many adverse consequences for their financial, mental, and physical well-being. With a mission to produce and support activities that educate, encourage and celebrate LGBTQ+ pride, education and inclusion, Long Beach Pride was established in 1983 by a small group of community activists who sought to bring the LGBTQ community together and honor their contribution to the area’s growth and unique cultural identity over many years. Over the years, the festival has gone on to create a cultural phenomenon that gathers A-list celebrities, Grammy-winning artists and thousands of visitors each year to its three-day celebration.

Everyone is welcomed to attend the event. The event will serve as a fundraiser.; There will be special performances by Psycadella, Big Dee and SABREENA. Along with exclusive Pride swag give-a-ways. For information contact https://longbeachpride.com/fundraiser/.

Long Beach Pride has voted in a new Executive Committee and Board Members headed by President Martin. Its officers are Dr. Cassandra Richards, Secretary; Wayne Manous, Treasurer; VP Festival Setup; LaRhonda Slaughter, VP Administration; Dwashonique “Shay” Sanford, VP Entertainment; and Chris Duvali, VP Production. Additionally, the Board of Directors also includes Grace Licerio, Elsa Martinez, Denise Newman, and Renea Page. Extended Members are Daniel Almazan and Ulysses Brand. Associate Member is Lovette McDonald.

About the Long Beach Pride Board

Tonya Martin, Long Beach Pride, President

Tonya Martin has made it her mission to share her gifts to spread equality for all. It was her volunteering involvement with Long Beach Pride that has given her the knowledge to produce events through the world that support equality for all. Long Beach Pride lead her to the heartbeat of the community which is its people. For five years, she served on the Board for Long Beach Pride, after volunteering for two years to learn the festival and parade logistics in order to learn from the ground up. For her, Pride is the course that no college or universities offers.

With over 25 years of public service, she currently serves the State of California under the direction of California’s first gay and out statewide elected official, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. As recognition of her years of community service, Tonya was recently inducted on the iconic wall at the Long Beach Harvey Milk Park, she is a former Long Beach Pride Grand Marshal, Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club Jean Harris Woman of the Year and NAACP Woman of the Year. She is the co-founder of Long Beach Festival Gay Latino- supporting the Latino LGBTQ+ community and uniTy- a Transgender Awareness and support event.

Last year, Tonya wrote and advocated for the City of Long Beach’s Gender-Inclusive Language Policy. The request lead by Vice Mayor Cindy Allen, Councilwoman Suely Saro and now adopted, confirms the introduction of an ordinance amending the City of Long Beach Municipal Code to require future Municipal Code amendments to be drafted with gender inclusive language that includes the Long Beach Transgender and Non-Binary residents. In addition, the request will adopt a resolution that amending to require that future amendments to Council Policies, regulatory legislation, and ballot proposals for City Charter amendments to be drafted with gender inclusive language. Ratifying that Language matters, language holds power, and the language of our laws is especially important when reflecting the diversity of our great city.

Dr. Cassandra Richards, Long Beach Pride, Secretary

Educator for Long Beach United School District for 28 years and selected twice as Teacher of the Year; Adjunct Professor at California State University Long Beach in Teacher Education Department; and past recipient of Whitey Littlefield Award- Parade Grand Marshal.

Wayne Manous, Long Beach Pride, Treasurer and VP Festival

Born and raised in Southern California, Wayne is the eldest of seven children. He is a graduate of Cal State Long Beach with a degree in Radio/TV and is employed at KTLA, working in the Engineering and Production departments on special telecasts.

Throughout his education, music was his first love and he has been a member of many music performance groups including the Cal State Long Beach Big Brown Music Machine and the 1984 Olympic All-American Marching Band.

Wayne attended the first Long Beach Pride parade in 1984 and has enjoyed the event ever since. On the heels of having completed 20 years as Long Beach Pride’s annual video producer, he joined the organization in 2017 to continue with the organization as a volunteer.

Christopher J. Duvali, Executive Board, VP of Production

Christopher J. Duvali initiated his LGTBQ+ volunteerism in 2008 with Equality California, bridging the communication circles with all communities.  He was originally elected to the Long Beach Pride Board in 2019 and recently was elected to the Executive Board as the Vice President of Production.    

Dwashonique “Shay” Sanford, Long Beach Pride VP of Entertainment

Since 2014, Shay has been an active volunteer in the Long Beach Pride Festival and Parades. Through her involvement with the organization, she has developed a strong desire to make positive changes and a drive to assist others.

Her devotion and dedication to helping the community became stronger with time. Witnessing the transforming power of collective action and the difference it can make in people’s lives prompted her to step up my engagement.

Long Beach Pride Inc. formally welcomed her in 2021. This choice enabled her to channel her enthusiasm into a more disciplined approach to bringing about significant change. As a member of this organization, she has the opportunity to collaborate with others who share her passion for community improvement.

It is with great enthusiasm that she continues on this journey of service as Vice President of Entertainment, driven by a genuine desire to craft unforgettable experiences that makie a lasting difference in our community through teamwork and collaboration.

Renea Page, Board Member, Long Beach Pride

Renea Page has been with Long Beach Pride since 2016. She has served as a Board Member for the past 4 years, and was the former Treasurer for the organization. It has been her pleasure to serve as a member of this great organization.

Elsa Martinez, Board Member, Long Beach Pride

Elsa Martinez is a retired Educator for the Los Angeles United School District for 23 years. She is a proud #LesbianMom with two kids.  Elsa Martinez started volunteering at Long Beach Pride in 2015 and joined as an Associate in 2016, In the past 4 years, she was President and Co-President of Long Beach Pride.

Grace Licerio is a Board of Directors member of Long Beach Pride. She began volunteering in 2018. She was officially sworn in as a Pride member in 2022. As a volunteer she helped out with the Thanksgiving baskets, the Toys for Tots, and fundraisers that had to do with Pride. She also helped out at the The Long Beach Pride Festival. Grace’s family is also active in volunteering for Long Beach Pride. Grace has been married for 29 years to her husband and has 3 adult children and 1 grandson. And when she is not at Pride you can find Grace at a Pinball tournament.

For more information, please visit LongBeachPride.com. or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and YouTube.