Raymond Gomez Garcia is a can do all kind of person, he was born in Mission Hills, California and Raised in San Fernando, California. At the age of 31 Raymond finds himself helping out the community in anyway possible, he has joined the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center as the “Operations Manager” in June of 2021. In August 2022 Raymond Became The CEO of the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ CENTER, he has shown hard work and dedication. He takes so much pride into being apart of the LGBTQ community and helping out, he has hosted many events in the community by giving school supplies and hosting toy drives for the kids during Christmas season, he hosted his first pride event in the San Fernando Valley in 2022. In 2023 he has already started his plans for more resources in the community, hosted the very first “LGBTQ HEALTH FAIR” in the San Fernando Valley. Raymond has done so much in his first year of being with the SFV LGBTQ CENTER and says he is just getting started.
Hello my name is Renato Lira and I was born in December 1979. I grew up in the city of San Fernando with my parents and siblings. I attended Gridley Elementary, San Fernando Jr. High, and Sylmar High School.
During that time as a young adult, I began to research other community programs for ideas, while creating several activities for the LGBT community to be a part of. After graduating from high school, I continued to volunteer in the community.
I attended the Institute Art and received an AA degree in 2001. Feeling that there is so much more I could do, I decided to attend University of Nevada, where I received my bachelor degree 2006. During this time I begin to advocate for LGBT rights on campus. At that time I caught the attention of Senator Harry Reid who appointed me as an intern with The Dream Act in Washington DC. This internship launched me as an ambassador of California to lobby for the rights of LGBT. I received my master's degree in Political Science in 2014. Since then I have been working with congress members as a liaison, developing school educational programs and services.
After my ambassador term ended, I decided to open San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center. My hope was to create a space of understanding and support for LGBTQ everywhere.
Bryan Gomez Garcia is a hard working person he was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California. At the age of 25 he has already accomplished studied and graduated to be a electrician he has found an amazing company which he gets to showcase his skills and learn new things as he moves on in his career. Bryan is one of those people who isn’t scared to take on a challenge he also works with the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center as the SPECIAL EVENTS DIRECTOR he helps put these amazing events together and makes sure they run smoothly, he is very hands on.
Peter Casey, he/ him, 59 years, retired Captain of Police, bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and associate degree in police science.
I was born and raised in Claymont Delaware, a small community just 19 miles south of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I knew since a very early age that I was gay. Growing up I wanted to a police officer. But I had a secret that I was afraid to let out and terrified that I would not be loved. I remember, like it was yesterday walking into my freshman sociology class and being issued “Abnormal Psychology” textbook. When I opened the textbook up, I remember feeling sick to my stomach after reading that homosexual was listed under abnormal and deviant behavior. I believedthat I was abnormal, that one course scared me and is forever etched in my mind. I fought with myself for decades not to be gay.
October 1983, I met my soulmate and spouse James Madock, our love was an instant connection and bond. Jim built me up and gave me strength. I told Jim that my childhood and lifelong dream is to become an LAPD police officer. Jim encouraged me to follow my dreams. This was a time when being gay was not accepted and considered taboo. Candidates would have been disqualified during the hiring process for being gay. In 1989, I joined the LAPD terrified what would happen to me if I was outted. I held that fear for years. On April 2, 2022, I lost the love of my life when Jim suddenly passed away.
I’m proud that I have rose to the rank of captain as a gay man. I’m humbled that the rank and file accept me. I have worked numerous Divisions, every Bureau, Narcotics Group, Internal Affairs Group, and a multi-agency gang and narcotic nuisance abatement task force “FALCON.” I successfully worked these assignments not by being gay or pretending to be straight, I was successful for being me, caring, and the desire to make a difference in everyone’s lives. I have received numerous awards, recipient of the Medal of Valor, Police Medal, honored for saving a baby’s life by given her CPR, City Angel Award, National Police Officer Hall of Fame, Humanitarian Award, Silver Star of Bravery, State of California’s Award of Merit, and Three Meritorious Unit Citations. I was featured on the Discovery Channel “Inside the Real LAPD.”
I bring to San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center, 33 years of management, leadership, building partnerships, operational, administrative, and training experience. As a retired openly gay command officer, I bring to our LGBTQ community the experiences and ability to build communications and training with our surrounding law enforcement agencies. My dream is not complete until every member of our LGTBQIA community feels safe, equal, and free from bullying. No one especially our youth grow up ever thinking he or she is abnormal or deviate.
Michelle Vergara was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. A first-generation college graduate, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from California State University Northridge and her Master’s in Social Work from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. During her graduate studies, she interned at the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD), where she supported the daily operations of GRYD’s comprehensive strategy, including intervention, prevention, and re-entry services for youth. This helped to amplify Michelle’s previous experience working with youth at various Los Angeles County Probation Camps.
Most recently, Michelle worked as a Field Representative for Congressman Tony Cárdenas, where she was responsible for overseeing the communities of Pacoima, Sylmar, Lake View Terrace, North Hills East and West and the City of San Fernando. Also under her purview were the legislative portfolios focusing on healthcare, juvenile/criminal justice, senior services, and financial services, all of which she is passionate about. In her free time, Michelle enjoys traveling, going to the beach, hiking, playing fantasy football and spending quality time with family, friends, and three dogs — Schnitzel, Simba, and Kobe.
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