2009 Lunar New Year Parade – Los Angeles

2009 Lunar New Year Parade

2009 Lunar New Year Parade, LA

200 Supporters of Gay & Lesbian Community March in 2009 Los Angeles Chinatown New Year’s Parade

Contingent Organized by API Equality-LA Draws Record Participation

Los Angeles – On Saturday, January 31, 2009, a record 200 people joined the API Equality-LA contingent in the Golden Dragon Parade in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, one of the city’s most popular community event.  Saturday marked only the fourth time in the parade’s 110-year history that a contingent representing and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members of the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community has participated in the parade. 
“We expected a strong turnout after all of the energy in our community since the November 2008 election, but we were absolutely astounded to welcome 200 participants – nearly three times as many as last year!” said Ericson Herbas, API Equality-LA steering committee member and one of the organizers of the contingent.  “Particularly meaningful for all of us, we were also joined this year by same-sex couples who had been able to legally marry before November 2008.”
Wearing bright red t-shirts, the large contingent marched proudly through the streets of Chinatown, carrying banners displaying the six colors of the rainbow.  The rainbow is commonly used to represent the pride of the LGBT community and was chosen by the API Equality-LA contingent to also represent the diversity of the coalition’s membership and supporters. 
“Our participation in the lunar new year parade each year sends a powerful message of pride, diversity and inclusion,” said Marshall Wong, API Equality-LA co-chair.  “Saturday was a wonderful way to enter the Year of the Ox.  It is said that the Ox is a sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work.  Fortitude and hard work describe exactly what we need to win back the freedom to marry for the LGBT community.  Today we took a short stroll around Chinatown but we’re committed to the long march to full equality.”
The contingent was led by a drum troupe playing traditional Korean drums, comprised of volunteers from the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA).  And bringing up the rear of the API Equality-LA contingent was Danza Méxica Cuauhtemoc, a cultural troupe performing traditional Aztec dances, accompanied by Aztec drums and dressed in traditional Aztec clothes and tall feather headdresses.   
“API Equality-LA was thrilled to be able to include both Korean and Aztec drums as well as Aztec dancers,” said Eileen Ma, another API Equality-LA steering committee member and organizer of the contingent.  “For us, the drummers and dancers reinforced our message of pride in our diversity as a community.”
The diversity of the marchers was also evident in the organizations that officially joined the API Equality-LA contingent, many of whom proudly displayed their own organizational banners as part of the contingent.  In addition to API Equality-LA, other organizations who participated in the contingent included: Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC); Asian Pacific Health Care Venture (APHCV); Asian Pacific Islander Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (API PFLAG); ); California Faith for Equality; Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) of San Gabriel Valley; Equal Roots Coalition; Gays United Network (Gays U.N.); Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA); Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC); Love Honor Cherish; OCA-Greater Los Angeles; South Asian Network (SAN); and Asian Pacific Islander Pride Council, which includes Asian American Queer Women Activists (AAQWA), Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT), Chinese Rainbow Association, Gay Asian Pacific Support Network (GAPSN), and Satrang. 

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