Principal Researcher Dallas Drake has been chosen as the 2007 Grand Marshal for the Twin Cities Pride Festival. Grand Marshall is the highest award given as part of the celebration and honors leaders in the community for their efforts and accomplishments.
According to the selection committee, Drake’s current leadership in his efforts to understand and prevent GLBT homicide make him especially qualified to be this year’s Grand Marshal. Drake co-founded in 1999 the Center for Homicide Research and serves as the Center’s principal researcher. He is considered to be one of the nation’s leading expert on GLBT homicide and lethal violence. He has worked with state and local law enforcement, the FBI, joint homicide task forces, several homicide investigators and concerned citizens to assist with active investigations or “cold cases.”
Drake has been an active leader in the GLBT community for over 20 years and has just recently been cited by “Who’s Who in America 2007.” In the late 1980’s Mr. Drake was pivotal in the early AIDS and GLBT-awareness and activism movements in Minnesota and helped organize and fund public visibility campaigns, demonstrations and media. Drake also volunteered extensively in the community as an AIDS Community Educator with the Red Cross, serving meals to homeless men and women at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, training as a witness for Non-Violence in Northern Wisconsin, serving on an anti-violence task force with the Gay & Lesbian Community Action Council, now known as OutFront Minnesota and acting as a search volunteer for Katie Poirer in Moose Lake.
Dallas Drake said, “I am pleased to be selected as the 2007 Pride Grand Marshal. This is an acknowledgement, not only of my personal accomplishments and commitment to human rights, but symbolic of the work we all do to further the cause of justice and fairness. Many LGBT people, many who may never be recognized for their role and contribution, are working tirelessly to make our community better for everyone. We should reach out and thank and support each and every one of them for their work. I would like to thank Twin Cities Pride for the honor of being selected as Grand Marshal.”
The Twin Cities Pride Festival has grown dramatically over the recent years to become the third largest GLBT festival in the nation in 2006. An estimated 310,000 people attended the Festival in 2006, and 125,000 people attended the parade, for a weekend total of 435,000.