The Vancouver Pride Society named the Pride Parade Grand Marshalls for 2009 with a mix of local, national and international heroes and roles models.
First up is this year’s Role Model, Cleve Jones. Jones was protegee to assassinated gay activist Harvey Milk in the 1970s and worked as an intern at Milk’s office in San Francisco. Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and was the catalyst behind the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Jones now works with UNITE HERE on homophobia issues within the hotel, restaurant, and garment workers industries and the Sleep With The Right People campaign aiming to convince GLBT tourists to only stay in hotels that respect their workers.
Next is Jeremy Dias, the National Hero for 2009. A youth activist, Dias currently serves as Executive Director at Jer’s Vision a national organization with the mission to youth to address discrimination in their schools and communities. Dias established Jer’s Vision after his successful fight against Algoma School Board when he attempted to start a gay social club at his Sault Ste Marie school.
The Local Hero this year is no stranger to Vancouverites. Janine Fuller is a community leader and activist who has led successful challenges against Canada Customs in their ongoing battle with Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium. Fuller, who joined Little Sister’s in 1990, has helped raise awareness of the arbitrary censorship of gay and lesbian materials entering Canada which was deemed as obscene.
Finally, the Honorary Pride Hero for 2009 is Cindy Kampmeinert, Vancouver’s first openly gay female firefighter. Kampmeinert was instrumental in convincing the Vancouver fire department to participate in the Vancouver Pride Parade for the first time in 2002 and participated in each successive parade before her death in 2008.