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Our Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest employees are always hard at work in Imperial Valley and Coachella. But last month, they made their presence known at the local Pride events — being a staunch, visible ally in parts of California that can be unfriendly to our LGBTQ communities.

Tabling at the event to give out condoms and to disseminate information about safer sex, nPEP and PrEP, and STIs is a big part of what these incredible people do.

They also connect with the community in personal, meaningful ways.

Vivian, health center manager at Imperial Valley, helped provide education at a Pride event at the LGBT Center in El Centro.

“We had parents approach us about the importance of educating youth on STIs, which can be a difficult conversation,” Vivian said.

Karen, community and government relations manager in Riverside, participated in the 2nd annual Eastern Coachella Pride Festival.

Lead by Desert Mirage High School students, and hosted by Building Healthy Communities and the LGBTQ Center in Palm Springs, allies like Planned Parenthood came to show their mutual support.

There were over 300 people at the event! The first and only LGBTQ Mariachi, a Latinx drag performance, and Danza Azteca entertained the crowd.

“It was beautiful to dance cumbia openly in the park with LGBTQIA residents, patients, and friends of Planned Parenthood,” Karen said. “The festival was our way of saying that Planned Parenthood believes justice and love can be shown publicly; and that LGBTQ safe spaces can exist when we come together and share resources, march, or even just dance with one another!”

Karen and Vivian were both proud to represent Planned Parenthood at the Pride events.

“I like to be the brand ambassador that works hard to let people know we are physically present in Coachella, Rancho Mirage, Moreno Valley, and Riverside,” Karen said.

Thank you, Karen and Vivian, and all those who participated!

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