Woodland’s Historic Push for City Pride

Juan Acosta and Mayor Pro Tempore Xochitl Rodriguez. (Credit: Mary Scarlett)

Earlier this June, I arrived at my local city hall, ready to celebrate a historical and long overdue moment. A moment that I knew would bring happiness, but furthermore, provide a message of empowerment to so many people in our community.

That evening, on Tuesday, June 19th, said moment came, and history was made in Woodland, CA, as the city proclaimed June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. I helped draft the proclamation and was one of many to do so, in addition to fellow community member Marie Perea, who pushed for this to pass.  

In 1998, the city of Woodland voted down a similar attempt, but this time the story changed, and the city of Woodland unanimously passed this effort.

Mayor Pro Tempore Xochitl Rodriguez stated that the Pride Month proclamation was an essential step towards empowering the LGBT community for their contributions to the city.

“We want to ensure that all community members feel welcomed regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said.

The proclamation seemed to do exactly that – fulfill and send across a message of empowerment and welcoming to many members of the community. One of them being Favio Tello, 24, who identifies as queer.

Favio spoke in support of the proclamation during public comment session and shared his excitement after the proclamation passed.

He was eager to be part of such a historic and meaningful moment.

“My closeted self would have loved to see this visibility brought forth for the LGBTQ community,” he said. “The queers are here darling, and we are NEVER going to back down!”

City council member Angel Barajas shared that he believes that the proclamation is an acknowledgment; it is a message “that city leaders not only proclaim that LGBTQ members have always been an integral part of our community but the need of equitable treatment, education, and acceptance must continue for everyone.”

This proclamation will remain in the city’s history books forever, but the impact that this proclamation has is unbounded.

The message of embracement for a community longing for acceptance and inclusion was crucial. It is a message I wish I would’ve received while growing up in the city of Woodland. That being said, the fact that I was able to help and be a part of a historic moment, to help out my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, is one of the greatest things that have happened in my life. Seeing people raise their Pride flags, cry, and smile from excitement is something that will remain with me forever.

It is a true testament that a simple message of kindness and belonging cannot only welcome many, but uplift those who feel alone, forgotten, and abandoned.

 

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Juan Acosta

Juan Acosta, 19, is from Woodland, California. He is currently completing his last year at Woodland Community College before transferring to San Francisco State University where he plans to study Psychology. He has worked with nonprofits such as the Yolo Family Resource Center, attended multiple leadership camps, and hosted a local television show "Teens on the Move." He is interested in research into community dynamics, coping with emotional and psychological trauma, ways to protect minority students, and how to make schools a bully free zone. In Juan's free time he enjoys going out with friends, family, and working out.

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