She will build on the tremendous impact she has already made for decades
I can’t remember precisely when Roberto Ordeñana, Deputy Executive Director of the LGBT Center, and I met — but we were probably laughing. There was a connection and sense of family from the very start.
It is an incredible honor to receive an endorsement from the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. An institution that has helped connect our diverse community to different opportunities and resources. It has achieved its vision of a more robust, healthier, and more equitable world for LGBTQ+ people and our allies.
Ordeñana said, “Quite frankly, I do not know what San Francisco would look or feel like without her. I was so excited to hear that she is going to run for Empress to bring even more love and desperately needed resources to our LGBTQ+ community. I am confident that she will build on the tremendous impact she has already made for decades.”
One of the most powerful memories I have of the Center is when Roberto asked me to be a part of the vigil for slain transgender teen Gwen Araujo. Gwen was an East Bay native like me, and her murder hit hard. We gathered and mourned her life in front of The LGBT Center building on Market Street, a focal point in San Francisco, space where LGBTQ individuals have come to receive resources, support, and a safe space to gather, find comfort, and celebrate.
“Juanita is a cultural leader. Community is at the heart of everything she does — hosting dinner parties in her home for friends new and old, presenting inclusive and sensational large-scale events, lifting the voices of other visual and performing artists, and partnering with community organizations like ours.” Ordeñana, waxed.
It’s hard to believe all the great work the Center has done since it opened its doors. They offer cultural activities, information, and vital services for our community. I named The Center the beneficiary for my annual pride party in 2012 and have been the Event Coordinator for the Center’s annual Soirée for the past few years. It has brought me great joy to work with the team to create fun, entertaining, and interactive events that celebrate their excellent work. This is what inspires me about the Center — the promise and opportunity it has for all of us to make new friends, build new families, and collaborate — while doing it fabulously!
Ordeñana continued, “The Center and our community have been a beneficiary of her creativity for many years, mainly through our annual Soirée fundraising event. She has brought unparalleled live performances as Entertainment Director. She first connected with the Center shortly after our founding in 2002 when she DJed one of our inaugural dances for LGBTQ+ youth. We are so honored to have been in partnership with Juanita for almost 20 years.”
Ordeñana powdered, “On behalf of the SF LGBT Center family, I recognize and thank Juanita for all that she does in our community, for always working tirelessly to address the most vulnerable needs among us, and for her fighting and loving spirit. Countless people have benefited from Juanita’s investment in the Center over the years — from the latest generation to the greatest generation, single folks to LGBTQ families. Her support allows all of us to gather under one roof and find the freedom to be the best person we can be, the freedom to be FABULOUS!”