About ROC Pride


The history of Pride Celebrations began in 1969 in Greenwich Village, New York City at the Stonewall Inn.

At the time, it was common all over the United States for police to raid gay and lesbian bars. While they were purportedly looking for liquor law or other violations, patrons were arrested and dragged off to jail with no legitimate charges.

But on the night of June 27th, 1969 something different happened.

When police raided the Stonewall Inn, the LGBTQ community fought back. The bar patrons threw bottles and rocks at the police. They chanted, “Gay Power!” For several nights crowds grew outside the Stonewall Inn.

Word quickly spread around the country about the people who fought back against the police. The event became known as the Stonewall Rebellion or Stonewall Riots. Although there was a small gay rights movement around the country prior to Stonewall, after 1969 the movement changed.

Ever since, LGBTQ people celebrate pride and call for basic civil rights by commemorating Stonewall. Across the US and all over the world, we remember the brave individuals of Stonewall every June.

Brought to you by

Out Alliance horizontal logo

The Out Alliance is a Champion for LGBTQ+ Life and Culture.

We envision a future where all members of the greater Rochester LGBTQ+ communities, at all stages of their lives, are free to be fully participating citizens, celebrating their lives in which they are safe, stable and fully respected.

Our Team

Mara Kouides

Mara Kouides is excited to return as a member of the RocPride e-team. Since moving back to her hometown of Rochester three years ago, Mara has volunteered with the Out Alliance. She currently works as an Education Coordinator with Lifespan’s Finger Lakes Caregiver Institute, facilitating caregiver support programs at the Out Alliance. Mara is proud to be a part of an e-team that is committed to a more inclusive RocPride, seeking to honor all identities of our community members across the spectrum of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, ability, and socioeconomic status. Wishing you a “happy pride!” in however you choose to celebrate during the 9 days of RocPride 2019 and throughout the year. 

photo of Out Alliance staff member Jeff Myers, Executive Director

Jeff Myers

Jeff is the Executive director for the Out Alliance and serves on the E-Team as a bridge between the Alliance and ROC Pride. Jeff has been the Alliance’s Managing director since 2016 and served as the Volunteer Coordinator before joining the staff. An alabama native, Jeff has held careers in interior design and event planning as well as serving on multiple Boards. Jeff is most excited about the opportunities ROC Pride 2019 offers and the chance to collaborate with community members to make this year the best yet!

Photo of Out Alliance Staff Member, Lori Cramer, Education Coordinator

Lori Cramer

Lori Cramer is the current Education Coordinator at the Out Alliance. Growing up with two moms, as well as being member and ally herself Lori was raised by a lesbian couple and she believes this has helped her to place value on her own femininity and hopes to bring this intersectional feminist mindset into the spaces that she occupies. Lori joined the Out Alliance team in May of 2018 upon graduating from Nazareth as the Administrative Assistant and now is in her dream position running trainings and facillitating dialogues for the LGBTQ Academy. In addition, Lori wears many hats at the agency, as a co-facilitator of Intersection, (a QTPOC Support and Social Group at the Out Alliance), Flyer and Calendar creation, and sometimes even social media support! In Pride 2018, Lori joined last minute as the Volunteer Coordinator. This year, Lori is so beyond excited to officially contribute to the team and help bring in a new voice and new perspective!

Photo of Out Alliance staff member, Tamara Leigh, Communications Director

Tamara Leigh

Rochester native, Tamara Leigh, is the current Director of Communications at the Out Alliance, an agency that champions the rights and lifestyle of the LGBTQ+ community and Editor of their publication, The Empty Closet. Leigh attended Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY as well as Temple University in Philadelphia, PA studying Communications and Journalism. She served as Professional Development Specialist, Public Relations and Event Management Coordinator for the City of Rochester Department of Recreation and Youth Services. Leigh also acts as co-host of radio show, Brunchin’ With Dee & T. on WAYO 104.3FM and CEO of Roc Candy Media, an urban Public Relations, Brand Development and Media Management firm. Tamara co-chairs, Rochester Black Pride and is one of the founding members of the WOC~ART (Woke Art) Collaborative. Tamara acted as PR and Development Team member of the ROC Awards, ROC the Park, and Nathaniel Johnson’s Designer Challenge Competition 2018 & 2019.

Zariah Williamson

Zariah Williamson,  a young Vibrant activist for women of color and a steady voice for change and youth empowerment  In the Rochester Area.

As one of the vibrant youth in Rochester , Zariah co collaborated with the Lesbian task force and GLSEN panel to make schools safer for young school children.

Her mission in partnering with the Out Alliance is now to “bridge the gap between LGBTQ people and LGBTQ of color and remind us that intersectionality is crucial place to start a dialogue for change.

“I am excited to be here for the community, For the Culture!… and for the Out Alliance. Yass!! <3”

Barbara Turner

Barbara Turner returns to the ROC Pride E-Team for 2019. Barbara’s RISE began in 1999 when she began as a facilitator for the youth program. Barbara became a member of the Alliance’s Speakers Bureau and then a Safe Zone Trainer. Her FIGHT began as she became an active advocate for LGBTQ people of color while serving on the Boards of the Out Alliance, Image Out, The MOCHA Center, Rochester Area Task Force on AIDS (RAFTA),and The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA). LGBTQ of color representation continued as she served on the City of Rochester’s Sex Trafficking Task Force and the African American Health Task Force. Barbara REMEMBERS our past LGBTQ leaders, organizations and community efforts and incorporates that history as she mentors our future LGBTQ leaders.

** WE ROC**

Victor Santiago

Victor Santiago is an alumnus and staff member for the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has been volunteering with the Out Alliance in several ways, from holding fundraisers, sitting on the Development Committee for the agency, and now becoming an active member on the E-Team for ROC Pride. His passion for making a difference in the community and event planning has influenced him to join the team and help make this year’s Pride a big success!

Sam Brett

Sam Brett (AKA Samantha Vega) is a Venezuelan native whose first Pride experience was ROC Pride 1995! Then an RIT student, Sam grew to love all things pride, has volunteered at the Out Alliance since 1997, and eventually joined the Pride Entertainment committee ten years ago, and co-chaired ROC Pride 2016 and 2017. He has also been a long-term volunteer with Trillium Health, and other organizations. As Samantha Vega, she has hosted Pride festivities around the country, Syracuse, Rochester, and Burlington VT. He challenges himself with making ROC Pride self-sustainable while being inclusive, accessible and affordable to all. One of his main goals for the week is to create new pride events for all while celebrating the legacy of Prides past. Sam’s legacy includes moving the ROC Pride festival to Cobbs Hill Park and growing its attendance 3-fold since 2015; the creation of the Fabulous Lives programming series, which takes a look at key individuals in the Rochester LGBTQ+ community, exploring the impact they have had in their communities beyond their obvious accomplishments; and reviving the ROC Pride Games (5K run, volleyball tournament, Euchre Tournament, Tennis tournament, etc). He wishes everyone a safe, fun, and meaningful Pride week to everyone! Break a nail!

Christopher Coles

Christopher Coles goes about the world as an American Thinker, Sign Language Interpreter, Director, Civil Rights activist and Spoken word poet.

“My mission as one of “Rochester sons” as previously named in an previous  EC article, I believe in the empowerment of community thru it’s collective, social, political, artistic , and cultural engagement which continues here within our city and globally across communities .

This year as we commemorate Mama Marsha P Johnson & Silvia Rivera, let us use the spirit of Stonewall as a beacon of Resistance and Community Alliance.

We remember
We rise
We fight

We ROC Baby!

Isadora Bugan

Isadora Bugan is the new Communications Intern for the Out Alliance. As a person who was involved in the LGBT community in Brazil, participating in events such as Sao Paulo Pride and her hometown’s first Walk for Bisexual Visibility, Isadora believes that working with the Out Alliance as a Communications Intern this summer will allow her to combine her interest in LGBTQ+ activism and community engagement with her passion for writing, as well as her experience helping organize events and divulging them, skills she learned during her time coordinating a volunteer program at a daycare in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
After moving to Rochester to attend the University of Rochester, where she intends to graduate in Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; she has been dedicating her time to volunteering around the Rochester community, mentoring other Brazilian Students that are applying to college in the US and exploring the city’s food scene.
Isadora is excited to contribute to Out Alliance’s mission of supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and the community as a whole, be it by managing social media for the organization, helping around the various programs that they organize each week or helping organize Roc Pride 2019.

Luis Rosario McCabe

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