SAN DIEGO, California -- The San Diego LGBT Community Center will name its Latin@ Services space for longtime gay and Latino activist, Nicole Murray-Ramirez.
The naming will take place as part to the 10th anniversary commemoration of Latino@ Services at The Center.
A San Diego City Commissioner, Murray-Ramirez has worked for LGBT and Latino equality for nearly five decades. He has served on the boards of directors for several local, state and national organizations, including Equality California, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign and LLEGO (a National Gay and Lesbian Latino Organization).
“Nicole Murray-Ramirez has made it his life’s work to advocate for both the Latino community and the LGBT community,” said Carolina Ramos, director of Community Programs and Latin@ Services at The Center. “It is our honor to recognize Nicole and his decades of service in this way.”
Murray-Ramirez is the only person in the county to have served on the boards of all five Marches on Washington - in 1979, 1987, 1993, 2000 and 2009.
Closer to home, Murray-Ramirez has been instrumental in the founding of several community organizations and events. In 1974, he, along with the late Jess Jessop and Tom Homann, founded and organized the first Gay Pride March. He was part of the early Walks for Life, which later became AIDS Walk San Diego. He was also a founder of the Tijuana AIDS Fund, and has worked for decades with leaders from the Tijuana LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities. In addition, he chaired the task force responsible for having a Hillcrest street officially named after Harvey Milk and is currently working to have a Hillcrest elementary school named after former Senator Christine Kehoe.
Murray-Ramirez has long been a leader in the local and international Imperial Court system, raising money for local and international causes, ranging from Easter Egg baskets for the children of LGBT parents to a toy drive in Barrio Logan to blankets for people living with HIV in Tijuana. Today, he is the chair of the international Imperial Court system, the heir to founder and gay icon Empress Jose Julio Sarra.
Murray-Ramirez has proudly described his work with pioneers in the work for equality for LGBT and Latino people, Harvey Milk and Cesar Chavez. He brought Chavez to the 1987 March on Washington and also received the Cesar Chavez Social Justice Award from Chavez’s widow, Helen. He helped Rachel Ortiz organize and fundraise for the first Cesar Chavez parade in San Diego.
The Latino Unity Coalition presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts, and he was a finalist for the Union-Tribune Latino Champions Awards for Outstanding Civic Leader.
In addition to playing a key role in the creation of San Diego’s successful Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, Murray-Ramirez, largely through the Imperial Court system, also led a successful campaign to have a U.S. postage stamp issued in honor of Harvey Milk. He is now the national chair of the campaign to secure a postage stamp recognizing the contributions of African-American gay activist Bayard Rustin.
“For decades, Nicole Murray Ramirez has been committed to the LGBT and Latino communities at all levels – local, state, national and international,” said Dr. Delores A. Jacobs, chief executive officer of The Center. “Nicole did this work at a time when the risks were incredibly high and the rewards practically non-existent. At this 10th anniversary milestone, we are so pleased to offer this recognition of his lifetime of service.”
About The Center
The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, Inc. (The Center) is the nation's second oldest and one of the largest LGBT community centers in the world. Functioning as the LGBT community's anchor organization, The Center is led by a 14-member board of directors, employs over 45 paid staff and utilizes more than 800 community volunteers to achieve its twin goals of promoting LGBT health and human rights. The Center provides direct program services to the many different facets of the LGBT community, including youth, seniors, families, LGBT Latino community members and their families, and those struggling with HIV. Last year, The Center provided more than 61,000 service visits to San Diego community members, and through its events, activities and advocacy, touched the lives of thousands more.