The Power of Pride | Oakland Pride


Celebrating living life to the fullest and giving hope to those who seek a community of belonging

Since 2010 Oakland Pride has been an influential and dedicated to educating the greater Bay Area and promoting
equality, social justice, civic involvement, and responsibility within Oakland and neighboring communities.

Our organization has a shared vision of providing an equitable platform, safe spaces, and events for the entire
Oakland community. Our events celebrate Oakland’s rich and diverse queer community, support Oakland’s BIPOC
businesses & non-profits, and highlight the resources available to the community through a series of events
throughout the year that lead up to Oakland Pride Weekend – a Festival and Parade
Oakland Pride is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Meet the Team

George J. Smith, III

Oakland Pride Board,

Valentino headshot

Valentino Carrillo

Oakland Pride Treasurer

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Joanna Castaño​

Oakland Pride Board,

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Val Klein

Oakland Pride Board Member
Sponsorship Chair


John Eric Henry

Oakland Pride Board Member
Entertainment Chair


Joe Hawkins

Oakland Pride Board

Attorney Huff

Oakland Pride Board,
Past President

Meet the New Oakland Pride Board of Directors

George Jeffery Smith III, Board President

Human Services Agency of San Francisco

George J. Smith III, an accomplished advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and a dynamic leader in promoting diversity and inclusion. With a strong background in community organizing and a deep commitment to social justice, George has been a driving force in advancing the cause of LGBTQ+ equality in Oakland and beyond.

As the newly appointed President of Oakland Pride, George brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the organization. His years of service and dedication to the LGBTQ+ community and Bay Area Community have earned him widespread respect and admiration. George’s advocacy work extends beyond LGBTQ+ rights, as he actively collaborates with various community organizations to address intersectional issues and create a more inclusive society for all. His leadership skills and passion for social change make him an invaluable asset to Oakland Pride, where he continues to drive positive transformation and inspire others to join the movement for a more equitable world.

Michel R. Huff, Esq.
President Emeritus

Huff Legal

Huff is a highly respected criminal defense attorney of Huff Legal, PC, brings a wealth of legal expertise and a deep passion for social justice to their role as President and Treasurer of Oakland Pride. As an openly transman of color, Huff’s visionary leadership will shape the organization’s future and drive positive change within the community. Relatedly, just this year, the San Francisco Business Times honored Huff with the 2023 Outstanding Voices Award.

Val Klein
Board Member

IHeart Media

Val Klein, a media and marketing professional with over two decades of experience in the Bay Area. Her exceptional work with iHeartMedia includes being the sponsor liaison with the San Francisco Pride, Oakland Pride, and Silicon Valley Pride, and she served as the Executive Producer for the award-winning webcast and broadcast video production of the San Francisco Pride Parade from 2006 – 2013.

Joanna Castano
Board Secretary

Radical Emergence

Joanna Castano is a Self-Transcendence Coach & Intuitive guide with a strong background in helping clients achieve self-transcendence and emotional balancing. As a business owner and co-founder, Joanne developed a coaching program based on spiritual body-mind awareness, leadership & personal development skills, mindset shifts, subconscious reprogramming, emotional intelligence, empowerment, and breaking out of “repetitive self-sabotaging loops.” She has coached many clients successfully using this approach and also has over 10 years of experience in transformational personal development coaching.

Joe Hawkins
Board Member

Oakland LGBTQ Center

Joe Hawkins is a noted, community organizer, LGBTQ advocate, non-profit executive, event producer, and social entrepreneur. Joe was named by Business Equality Magazine as one of America’s Top 50 over 50 LGBTQ Legacy Leaders for 2019 and the San Francisco Business Times honored him with the 2022, Selisse Berry – Leadership Legacy Award. Joe first came to national prominence as one of the first gay men to ever appear as a guest on the iconic Oprah Winfrey talk show during the early 90’s, defending his right to parent his son as an out gay man. He was one of the many early HIV/AIDS activist and appeared on numerous talk shows to include Geraldo Rivera and the PBS documentary series Frontline, to highlight the often overlooked, intersectional issues experienced by Black LGBTQ people, to a national audience. Among his many accomplishments, Joe is a co-founder and former co-chair of Oakland Pride and was voted Grand Marshall of both the San Francisco and Oakland Pride Parades. He worked as a founding program member and CEO of OpNet Community Ventures, one of America’s first high-tech training programs, launched in 1995, for low income youth and youth of color in San Francisco. Joe served as Regional Director for Innovative Housing, a shared housing non-profit for low income families and individuals in Marin County. He worked as the Director of Administration at AIDS Project of the East Bay (APEB), served on the Ryan White Planning Council and was a founding organizer of the East Bay AIDS Walk. Joe also created California’s largest and longest running Black LGBTQ Film Festival and produced California’s longest running LGBTQ Hip-Hop event that lasted 25 years. He produces Blatino Oasis, California’s largest and longest running gay and bisexual men of color getaway retreat, held annually in Palm Springs, California. In 2017, Joe co-founded and is the CEO of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, Oakland’s first all inclusive, intergenerational, LGBTQ+ service center and a new model for service provision in Oakland. A military veteran, Joe’s service to the community has been recognized with numerous awards, including proclamations from 7 mayors of 3 cities and 4 governors in the state of California. His work with youth technology training programs was recognized by the White House and featured on Good Morning America and in numerous publications including USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. In 2014, the City of Oakland presented Joe with the Mayor’s Proclamation, naming a day in his honor and in 2017, the Northern California chapter of the ACLU honored him with the Grover Dye award, their highest award for community activism. In 2018, his vision for LGBTQ wellness programming resulted in the LGBTQ center receiving the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Citation Award and in 2023 the Center was featured in a national ad campaign for its HIV prevention efforts. Joe loves living in Oakland and the Bay Area and spending his free with his husband Nico, camping on the beach, touring California and spending time with his son and three beautiful grandchildren.


John Eric Henry
Board Member

Pinnacle Drone Lightshows

As Founder of Strategic EMS Consulting, John has leveraged data, workflow, AI analytics, and Six Sigma principles to optimize business operations and healthcare processes.


In addtion John Founded and is Principal of Drone Lightshows and The Drone Command Post, he bring 20+ years of experience in drone engineering and live event coordination, focusing on innovative entertainment solutions and navigating complex regulatory landscapes.


Valentino Carrillo
Board Member

Que Rico Nightclub

Valentino Carrillo also known as Valentino Presents is a well known Promoter and Club Owner in Northern California. He currently owns La Frontera Mexican Restaurant in the Fruitvale District as well as the popular Que Rico Nightclub in Downtown Oakland, CA where he employs over 50 people between the two.

Valentino has produced and managed stages at several prides including Oakland Pride, San Francisco Pride, Pride Night Great America and Rainbow Festival in Sacramento, CA. In 2022 Valentino was awarded the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurship and Community Excellence Award. He has also received Promoter of the Year Awards in 2016 as well as 2017. His LGBTQ+ Nightclub Que Rico was awarded Best LGBTQ+ Dance Club in the East Bay.s

Show Your Love is Love is Love

Your donations fuel the power of pride and supports the community beyond Oakland Pride weekend.

Other Ways to Be Part of Pride

Float and Strut in the Parade

Return to the streets and march in the parade to celebrate our lives and our resilient community.

Don’t Just Celebrate, Volunteer

Become one of our hundreds of volunteers who help make these events possible. You’ll meet new friends and discover a sense of community and belonging that is the true spirit of Pride

Set up Your Stand

Local vendors and businesses are the heart of Oakland. Set up your booth and be in the perfect place to let Pride know about you.

Show Your Love is Love is Love

Your donations fuel the power of pride and supports the community beyond Oakland Pride weekend.