Christopher Street West (CSW), the nonprofit that produces the annual LA Pride Parade and Festival, announced today that Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore, will be leaving her position at the end of this month. She was appointed to her role on July 1, 2018.
Cacciatore leaves her role the same month that Esteban Montemayor stepped down from his role as SCW President and Sharon-Franklin Brown became the first Black transgender woman appointed to lead the LGBTQ+ organization.
Madonna Cacciatore penned the following message to the LA Pride community:
“I am deeply humbled to have been at the helm of Christopher Street West |LA Pride as the executive director for more than two years. It is with deep gratitude, a rich heart, and mad respect that I make the bittersweet announcement that my last day is September 30. Beginning October 1, the organization will be under the executive leadership of members of the board of directors.
It is important for me to convey this to you with honesty and integrity. It’s simple: COVID-19 has made it tough for Pride organizations across the globe to sustain themselves. CSW is financially sound and must remain that way in order to provide brave, safe spaces for the next 50 years. As a fierce advocate of the LGBTQ+ community, I look forward to the day when we can march and celebrate safely together again.
In my time as ED, I got to meet with many of you in coffee shops, parks, at conferences, and we cried, laughed, held hands, vented, and brainstormed. It is through the eyes and passion of every person I met that I felt brave enough to carry this responsibility. I never took that lightly. I have always strived to stand with the most marginalized. Those of you who know me personally know this fight is very real for me, too, and know that I shed many tears for our community. I am committed to that advocacy from wherever I am. I also got to meet with and learn from Pride leaders around the world.
LA Pride 2019 seems like a million years ago but lives vividly in my heart today. After months of listening to your voices, we were able to produce new, free events like Pride on the Boulevard, Oil Can Harry’s, Opening Ceremony, a blessing by tribal elders of the Tongva land, and the first live parade broadcast on ABC7, where families far and wide got to see their children, parents and siblings celebrate. We produced the first annual Fem(me): Fueling the Female Force Within event, where we jointly honored five diverse leaders with the Alexis Arquette Family Foundation. We brought the Dyke March back to LA Pride.
The greatest thing a leader can do is listen. My wish in passing the Pride baton to future generations is that no matter who you are or what your journey, you listen and take action. Dig deeply into your activist souls. Don’t let up until we are all free and open to be who we are and walk without fear.
It has been my honor to serve you. You challenged me and touched me to my core. You are the reason the role was important to me.
Vote. March. Volunteer. Unite. Take care of one another. That’s our duty.
My deepest love and thanks for trusting me with LA Pride. Hope to see you all very soon in person.”