This is the group of dedicated queer & trans BIPOC who form the primary planning committee for SB Pride & Joy.
Vivian (@vivianstar001 on Instagram) is a queer Black life & leadership coach, drag performer, and has been one of the most visible, impactful, and prolific LGBTQ+ community leaders in Santa Barbara over the last 7 years. She received her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, and she is a soul singer / songwriter with a big passion to bring people together. Her love for creating spaces of joy for the LGBTQ+ community (and good allies) has been the driving force of her entertainment career.
Chief Esparza is the queer Mexican nonbinary cofounder and executive director of ColorBloq.org, elevating queer & trans BIPOC voices since 2016. Chief pushes Color Bloq’s tagline in his work: “We are more than our trauma, we dare to joy.” The organization’s impact includes: 240 QTBIPOC voices featured; $45,000 paid to community; 1,200 event attendees; 275,000 website visitors; and partnerships with SF AIDS Foundation, Transgender District, AfroTech, California Endowment, Critical Minded, Good VBZ, and more. Chief is an 8th generation Santa Barbarian, with a BA in Poli Sci from UCSB, and works days in DEI and communications.
“Pride & Joy is what we have been waiting for!” Terra Cobian is a non-binary, mixed race artist and community organizer of Mexican, Black, and Gabrielino Tongva descent. They were born and raised in Santa Barbara, with previous stays in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tijuana. By day, Terra is a program manager and educator for The Arts Fund SB. With multiple skills in their toolkit, they were previously the manager and event specialist for the Melanin Gallery, Santa Barbara’s first art space to center Black artists; and they are currently social media, photographer, and content manager for both the Healing Justice and Juneteenth orgs in Santa Barbara.
Carlos Mendez is a LatinX, LGBTQ multihyphenate from Santa Barbara. He is an educator in Ventura County pursuing his first children’s book publication. Carlos received his BA from CSU Channel Islands and a Master’s in Education from Antioch University-Santa Barbara. Carlos has recently developed a curriculum based on the children’s books The Skin You Live In and Mirror Face (Michael Tyler), for the Chicago Public School System. When not in the classroom, Carlos has successfully cultivated and uses a performance drag persona, Angel D'Mon, to interact with children, their parents, caregivers and teachers via the book reading platforms Story Time with Miss Angel along with performing at entertainment venues.
René García-Hernández (Él/He/Him) identifies as an undocu-queer cis male of color, who is first-generation, and an agent of hope. He received his BA in Sociology from CSU, Northridge in 2015 and obtained a Master's Degree in Education and Leadership Administration from CSU Channel Islands in 2020. René is a community driven individual, he has served the community for the past 10 years in several roles. Currently, He is a Co-founder of Bienestar Counseling, Coaching and Consulting (@bienestarccc on Instagram), a board member at Adelante Charter School and Vice Chair at Santa Barbara Immigration Legal Defense Center.