San Diego Pride: Justice with Joy

By Bruce Hartman | July 15, 2022
Sharp HealthCare team members assemble at the start of the 2019 San Diego Pride parade

Sharp HealthCare team members assemble at the start of the 2019 San Diego Pride parade.

Bruce Hartman is a director of marketing and communications with Sharp HealthCare and a steering leader of the Sharp Equality Alliance, a group dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. Hartman uses he/him/his pronouns.

When I came out as a gay man three decades ago, the world was a different place for people like me — who identified as LGBTQ+. We had very few rights and legal protections. Committed, same-sex partners couldn’t “put a ring on it.” The “don’t ask, don’t tell” federal policy banned openly lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals from serving in the U.S. military. And I could count on one hand the number of role models in entertainment, professional sports and politics who were out.

Today, marriage between same-sex couples is legally performed and recognized in all 50 U.S. states and 32 countries. We celebrate the historical fight for equal rights and justice with the founding of national gay rights organizations, the election of LGBTQ+ officials across the country — including our own San Diego Mayor, Todd Gloria — the acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in the military, and the freedom to exist with dignity and visibility and without fear and prejudice.

It’s only fitting that the theme for this year’s San Diego Pride celebration, taking place July 9 through 17, 2022, is “Justice with Joy.”

San Diego’s biggest parade for people of all ages
The Pride Festival is San Diego’s largest 2-day event, highlighting the best in LGBTQ+ entertainment, interactive exhibits, cultural events and community resources. Together, in a sea of blue T-shirts, more than 100 Sharp HealthCare leaders and employees will walk in the event’s signature parade along University Avenue in Hillcrest to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. After a pause due to the pandemic, the excitement to get back together is electric!

For me, it’s a big thrill to walk along the parade route with my Sharp colleagues to the cheers of 200,000 San Diegans, and shouts of “We love Sharp!” This year, the United States Marine Corps Marching Band from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot will join the ranks — the first time a Marine Corps band has performed in a Pride parade in the continental U.S.

In addition to the parade, there are dozens of Pride activities for people of all ages. The Spirit of Stonewall Rally on Friday kicks off the San Diego Pride weekend with energetic speakers and pays homage to the leaders and gay rights activists who paved the way. For LGBTQ+ families, there’s a youth zone and children’s garden. If you have some energy to burn, you can participate in the Pride 5K Walk and Run.

Sharp’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
Sharp’s involvement in San Diego Pride is organized through the Sharp Equality Alliance, or SEA, a group of Sharp employees dedicated to fostering a diverse, inclusive and welcoming culture within the organization and increasing Sharp’s visibility and involvement among the various San Diego populations and communities it serves.

As one of the founding SEA members, I’m proud to work for a company that embraces and celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion. Along with co-chairs John Aganon, Donna Dasinger and Thomas Hayes, we collaborate with leaders and employees across Sharp’s hospitals and entities to steer the direction and focus of SEA. Members of SEA bring unique perspectives from their own diverse backgrounds and personal experiences.

Empowering Sharp staff with cultural knowledge
In addition to the annual Pride parade and festival, through SEA, Sharp employees take part in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Downtown San Diego. SEA also promotes mental health awareness within Sharp HealthCare and in the community — primarily through an alliance with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on its stigma-free initiative.

Besides community outreach, SEA serves as a resource in clinical and staff education and empowerment. Through its Breakfast Forum: A Health Equity Series and Current Conversations programs, SEA has explored issues and topics including disparities in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease affecting the Black community; the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience; invisible differences like autism and neurodiversity; religion and spirituality; transgender health; mental health and adolescents; and more.

This is just part of how Sharp HealthCare celebrates and embraces the LGBTQ+ community. We hope everyone in San Diego will also show their support, not only by participating in this important event but by exemplifying Justice with Joy throughout the year.

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Bruce Hartman

Author

An avid traveler, Bruce is also the marketing and communications director at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.


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