As a native Miamian who has lived here his whole life, Richard Gonzalez has seen this town grow in dramatic ways. From the dark days of Anita Bryant to marriage equality being the law of the land, Gonzalez has been an active part of the social changes that made Miami a vibrant and diverse city.
In volunteering to support the gay teachers of Miami-Dade county he found his voice and his calling, coming out and beginning a lifetime of service to a community that was in need of a dogged champion. A founding member of SAVE, he was part of the group that began to push for rights at the local level. He has been a president of Communion Foundation, a cyclist for Smart Ride, part of the security committee for the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade and is currently an active board member of Pridelines.
His commitment to unity has always been at the heart of his life of service. He has not just been a champion of rights, he has worked tirelessly to forge a path of harmony and cooperation between unlikely groups. His work with Spirit — the spiritual group of gay and lesbian Catholics and non-Catholic denominations working together toward the acceptance and acknowledgement of gay loving people — is a perfect example.
Gonzalez says he is honored to be in the first group recognized at the upcoming Gay8 Festival with a Pa’Lante Award. “A festival brings a community together through art and music, and it brings people to have trust in each other,” he says. “Uniting the Hispanic community and Calle Ocho with the gay community in a festive mode I think is a wonderful celebration of both cultures.”