Seattle Pride Names 2016 Parade Grand Marshals

The Seattle Area Support Group, Dennis Coleman of the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Chorus, and El Centro de la Raza are Chosen as Grand Marshals, with the Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle as the Special Grand Marshal


February 25, 2016 – SEATTLE – Seattle Pride has selected the Grand Marshals of the 2016 Seattle Pride Parade to be the El Centro de la Raza, the Seattle Area Support Group and Dennis Coleman of the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Chorus. In addition, to honor their 45th year in service, the Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle has been chosen to be the Special Grand Marshal of the parade.


As an organization grounded in the Latino community, it is El Centro de la Raza’s mission to build unity across all racial and economic sectors, to organize, empower and defend its most vulnerable and marginalized populations, and to bring justice, dignity, equality and freedom to all the peoples of the world. We envision a world free of oppression based on poverty, racism, sexism, sexual orientation and discrimination of any kind that limits equal access to the resources that ensure a healthy and productive life for all peoples and future generations in peace, love and harmony. El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races) was founded in 1972 when a group of diverse community members led a peaceful and innovative three-month occupation of a local abandoned school building. Today, El Centro de la Raza responds to the broad range of community needs with 48 culturally and linguistically competent Education and Asset-building Programs, Child and Youth Programs, and Emergency and Human Services, benefitting low-income children, youth, adults, and seniors. Last year, El Centro de la Raza served 15,085 individuals and 8,581 families. We are a voice and a hub for the Latino community as we advocate on behalf of our people and work to achieve social justice.


Seattle Pride President Eric Bennett said, “El Centro de la Rasa has exemplified the concept of serving the community. We are thrilled to announce them as a Grand Marshal for the 2016 parade.”


Dennis Coleman has led Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus to a position of artistic and administrative excellence with a combined singing membership that exceeds that of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Dennis is active as a clinician and guest conductor throughout the U.S. and Canada. He served for six years on the national Board of Directors for Chorus America and was on the founding Board of Directors of GALA Choruses. As a UCC church musician, Dennis has conducted the choir of First Congregational Church of Bellevue since 1981. The 45-voice choir has toured Europe three times, sang in churches in New Zealand in the fall of 2005, and toured South Africa in the fall of 2008. Dennis has commissioned and premiered choral works from many leading composers including Gian Carlo Menotti, Ned Rorem, Robert Moran, Conrad Susa, David Diamond, Robert Seeley, British composer Paul Patterson and Canadian Stephen Hatfield. Of Rage and Remembrance, a 15-minute work for male chorus, mezzo soprano, speakers and orchestra by composer John Corigliano, was premiered by Seattle Men’s Chorus in Seattle in 1991. A recording of this work and the companion Symphony 1, also called Of Rage and Remembrance, by the National Symphony under Leonard Slatkin was awarded the 1998 Grammy for Best Classical Album. Dennis has collaborated with acclaimed artists including Maya Angelou, Frederica von Stade, Judith Martin (Miss Manners), Bobby McFerrin, Tatiana Troyanos, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Harvey Fierstein, Michael Feinstein, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Marni Nixon, Diane Schuur, Armistead Maupin, Lucy Lawless, Faith Prince, and Lily Tomlin.


“It is so fitting to have Dennis join in leading the 2016 parade. Dennis and the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Chorus are such an integral part of our community,” said Bennett.


Seattle Area Support Groups & Community Center (SASG) was originally founded in 1984 as Seattle AIDS Support Group to provide peer emotional support services to those affected by the burgeoning AIDS epidemic. During a time of confusion, fear and lack of knowledge of this disease, coming together in loving support of one another is how we coped with acceptance and loss. Today, we carry forward the power of peer support and understanding that can only occur between people with shared experience and struggles. Whether one to one or in peer groups, we address issues of mental well-being, chronic illness, personal development, addiction, and safe social interactions.


Bennett also had praise for SASG, “Their contribution to the health of our community makes them exemplary in the role of a parade Grand Marshal.”


The Court of Seattle Organization, also known as The Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle & The Olympic and Rainier Empire is a 501(c)(3) …non profit social/charitable organization whose purpose is to provide funds and services to other non-profits within the LGBTQA community of Seattle and King County Washington.
These funds are raised throughout the year by various fundraisers and donations from individuals and corporate sponsorships, most notably through the election and crowning of the Emperor and Empress of Seattle annually at Coronation.  We also elect or appoint the Imperial Princes and Princesses, the Mr. and Miss Gay Seattles, the King and Queen of Hearts and the Kings and Queens of the Seas.

The Court of Seattle annually provides educational scholarships to deserving high school or post high school undergraduates who reside in the state of Washington via the oldest LGBTQA-oriented scholarship program in the United States of America.  The J.C./Lady Graytop Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1977 as permanent memorial to Emperor J.C. and Empress Lady Graytop.  Since its inception, we have awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to deserving students pursuing a post-secondary education.


A quote from The Imperial Court of Seattle: “As we celebrate the crowning of our 45th Empress, DonnaTella Howe, we are honored to be acknowledged as Honorary Grand Marshals of Seattle Pride!  This is the first time in 45 years that the Court has been awarded this honor.  We look forward to serving our Community once again, this time as Deeds, and will continue to celebrate the Queen in us all far into the future.”


The Seattle Pride Parade takes place annually on the last Sunday in June. The 2016 Parade will be held on Sunday, June 26th. Visit Grand Marshals of the Seattle Pride parade.  We hope you enjoy celebrating our organizations 45 years of Noble to register your group or find out how you can participate in creating a successful day by becoming a valued volunteer.

About Seattle Pride Seattle Pride is a non-profit organization based in Seattle, WA, whose purpose is to create unity, honor diversity, and achieve equal human rights throughout our region and the world. Seattle Pride is focused on informing and educating the community on LGBT issues through community outreach and produced events, including the annual Seattle Pride Parade, Volunteer Park Pride Festival, Pride Guide, and the Pride Brunch!

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