The Western Addition’s African American Art & Culture Complex co-executive directors Melonie and Melorra Green have been elected in an online vote as Community Grand Marshals.
“SF Pride wishes to thank the hundreds of people who voted for the general public’s choice of 2021 Community Grand Marshals”, said the SF Pride team on the nominations, “co-founders of the African American Art & Culture Complex (AAACC) Melonie Green and Melorra Green jointly won for the individual component, while voters chose the Oakland LGBTQ Cultural Center as the organizational honoree.” There won’t be an SF Pride parade this year, but instead SF Pride is hosting a series of socially distanced in-person events for the 51st annual iteration of the event. Despite the lack of a parade, there will still be Grand Marshals.
Both Melonie and Melorra Green are the executive co-founder the AAACC, the African American Art & Culture Complex is a space for Black creatives to present, gather, and learn, while being a space for all to experience Black art and culture. “They continue to elevate their promise to inspire and empower Black people to tell our stories and uphold our truths,” SF Pride said in a statement to the Bay Area Reporter. “Their pride in being Black + queer + women was nurtured in the Bay Area and they are proud to BE, represent, and acknowledge what they fought so hard to not be ashamed of.” The sisters already have such an impressive resume of accolades and work done in San Francisco. The twin sisters from Memphis also co-executive-produced the San Francisco Black Film Festival, coordinated a shutdown of the Castro on MLK weekend that year, and host a weekly radio show on KPOO every Tuesday.
SF Pride reiterated their commitment to the community, “our Grand Marshals and Honorees represent a mix of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community,” they said. “With the help of community input, Pride selects these groups and individuals in order to honor the work they have put into furthering the causes of LGBTQ+ people.”
Melonie recounts the shutdown of the Castro on MLK weekend, “It was kind of a crazy feeling,” said Melonie to Hoodline in 2015, “Like, ‘alright here we go, into a busy intersection and stopping traffic.’” But desperate times call for radical measures, they decided. “At this point there are three percent African-Americans here,” she continued. “For a city that boasts art, culture and diversity, that’s a state of emergency.”
Along with the Grand Marshaling, SF Pride will build upon its successful 2020 Marsha P. Johnson Rally with a similar event at the AAACC on Friday, June 18. That date, the eve of Juneteenth, demonstrates the connection between the fight for LGBTQ+ equality and the struggle for racial justice. They are honored to partner with AAACC and join them in their work of uplifting a marginalized community in the heart of the Western Addition.
// Want to learn more about Pride programming, go to their site here: sfpride.org. Photography courtesy of AAACC and SF Pride.