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George Takei, Cassandro & Kristin Crowley Named LA Pride Grand Marshals

Photo: LA PRIDE

Today,聽Christopher Street West Association聽(CSW) 鈥 the 501(c)3 nonprofit that has produced the iconic聽LA Pride celebration for more than 50 years 鈥 announces its trio of Grand Marshals to be celebrated at the聽LA Pride Parade聽on Sunday, June 9 taking place at its original historic location in Hollywood. This year鈥檚 LA Pride Parade Grand Marshals include actor and activist聽George Takei聽as the聽Icon Grand Marshal, an individual who needs no introduction and achieved major milestones within his career and industry; professional wrestler聽Cassandro El Ex贸tico聽as the聽Legacy Grand Marshal, an individual that has made an everlasting impact on his industry and community; and the Los Angeles Fire Department鈥檚聽Kristin Crowley聽as the聽Community Grand Marshal, which celebrates a group or individual who has had a powerful influence through their work and dedication to and for the LGBTQ community. This year鈥檚 festivities also mark the largest gathering of participants that will be walking in the Parade.聽

鈥淭hese individuals epitomize this year鈥檚 theme of 鈥楶ower in Pride,鈥 not just through their own achievements, but through their unwavering commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and visibility,鈥 said聽Gerald Garth, board president of CSW/LA Pride. 鈥淕eorge Takei's advocacy, Cassandro El Ex贸tico's trailblazing in wrestling, and Kristin Crowley's service in the fire department all demonstrate the strength and resilience within our community. As this year's Grand Marshals, they embody the essence of empowerment, showing us that our differences are not obstacles but sources of strength. Together, they inspire us to embrace our identities, break barriers, and create a more inclusive world where everyone can thrive.鈥
鈥淚 am deeply humbled and honored to be named the Icon Grand Marshal,鈥 said聽Takei. 鈥淭o be recognized in this way by the LGBTQ+ community, an extraordinary group of individuals who have fought tirelessly for equality, is truly overwhelming. As someone who has witnessed the struggles and triumphs of our community over the years, I am filled with gratitude for the progress we have made and inspired to continue the fight for full acceptance and equality for all.鈥
鈥淭hroughout my career, I have strived to break barriers and challenge stereotypes, not only within the world of professional wrestling but also in society as a whole,鈥 said聽Cassandro. 鈥淭o be recognized as this year鈥檚 Legacy Grand Marshal for my contributions to both my industry and my community is truly humbling. I am thankful for the opportunity to inspire future generations to embrace their uniqueness and follow their dreams.鈥
鈥淎s a proud member of the LGBTQ community and the Los Angeles Fire Department, I am overjoyed to be named the Community Grand Marshal,鈥 said聽Crowley. 鈥淭his recognition is not just a reflection of my own efforts, but a testament to the hard work and dedication of all those who have fought for LGBTQ rights and equality.鈥

George Takei聽is a civil rights activist, social media superstar, Grammy-nominated recording artist, New York聽Timesbestselling author, and pioneering actor whose career has spanned six decades. He has appeared in more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television roles, most famously as Hikaru Sulu in聽Star Trek, and he has used his success as a platform to fight for social justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and marriage equality. His advocacy is deeply personal: During World War II, Takei spent his childhood unjustly imprisoned in United States incarceration camps along with 125,000 other Japanese Americans. He now serves as chair emeritus and a member of the Japanese American National Museum鈥檚 Board of Trustees. Takei served on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Bill Clinton, and, in 2004, was conferred with the Gold Rays with Rosette of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan for his contribution to US-Japan relations.

Cassandro El Ex贸tico, born Saul Armendariz in 1970, is a renowned Mexican professional wrestler known for breaking barriers in the world of聽lucha libre, a unique style of professional wrestling that originated in Mexico. Embracing his openly gay identity, Cassandro challenged traditional norms within the sport. Beginning his wrestling career in 1987, Cassandro quickly gained recognition for his flamboyant persona, vibrant costumes, and impressive in-ring skills. Overcoming adversity, including a challenging childhood and struggles with substance abuse, he became a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ representation in professional wrestling. Throughout his career, Cassandro achieved numerous championships and accolades, including the NWA World Welterweight Championship in 1992. His resilience and charisma have made him a beloved figure in the wrestling community, transcending cultural boundaries and inspiring others to embrace their true selves. Today, Cassandro is facing new challenges in speech and mobility following a stroke in May of 2021, just weeks before the completion of his third film, "Cassandro." He is an advocate for people living with aphasia and remains an ally of individuals recovering from substance abuse in Narcotics Anonymous. Beyond the ring, Cassandro's story is a testament to perseverance and self-expression, leaving an indelible mark on the history of lucha libre and opening doors for a more inclusive future in the world of professional wrestling.

Kristin M. Crowley聽was confirmed as the 19th Fire Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) on March 25, 2022, becoming the first woman, and first openly gay person to hold the position. Chief Crowley is a 29-year veteran as a first responder, with 24 of those years serving within the LAFD. Chief Crowley聽聽has proven her credibility, command, and character by rising through the ranks from Firefighter, Paramedic, Engineer, Fire Inspector, Captain I, Captain II,聽Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief, Chief Deputy, to Fire Chief. Chief Crowley鈥檚 assignments throughout her career with the LAFD have been diverse. She has gained valuable experience in both field assignments on聽聽emergency apparatus and administrative duty in multiple areas within the聽聽Department. Prior to her appointment, she served as a Chief Officer for 9 years聽聽as the Commander of Battalion 13 (South Los Angeles), Battalion 6 (San Pedro),聽聽the Professional Standards Division, Fire Prevention and Public Safety Bureau聽聽and the Administration Operations. This past year, Chief Crowley was nominated and confirmed to serve on the聽聽Homeland Security Advisory Council. She has served as a Board of Visitor聽聽member for the National Fire Academy and as an executive board member for聽聽both the Chief Officers Association and The Women in the Fire Service. On the聽聽State and regional level, Chief Crowley currently serves as an executive board聽聽member on both the FIRESCOPE Committee and Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs聽Association. Chief Crowley chaired the Fire Code Committee for Los Angeles聽聽and served as the Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academy facilitator聽聽and instructor. She was appointed to the LAFD in October 1999.

Hosted by 鈥淕ood Morning America鈥 Saturday and Sunday co-anchor and ABC News transportation correspondent聽Gio Benitez聽and 鈥淎BC7 Eyewitness News鈥 anchor聽Ellen Leyva, the 54th Annual LA Pride Parade will broadcast live on Sunday, June 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PDT on ABC7/KABC-TV Los Angeles, Southern California鈥檚 most-watched television station and long-time LA Pride broadcasting partner, with simulcasts on ABC7鈥檚 streaming and digital platforms and聽Hulu.聽ABC7/KABC-TV Los Angeles won an L.A.-area Emmy for their coverage of the 2022 LA Pride Parade.聽The live broadcast will include comprehensive coverage from "ABC7 Eyewitness News" reporters聽David Gonz谩lez,Sophie Flay, and 鈥+Life鈥 host聽Karl Schmid, who will be reporting directly from the parade route. They will capture all the festivities and can鈥檛-miss-moments to help viewers at home experience this celebrated annual tradition. The parade route will begin at Sunset Blvd and Highland Ave heading north, then east onto Hollywood Blvd, then south onto Cahuenga Blvd, ending at Sunset Blvd and Cahuenga Blvd.聽


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