CAPS Community Town Hall: Joe Hawkins, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Oakland LGBTQ Community Center

The Vision of the New Oakland LGBTQ Community Center

550 16th St.
San Francisco, CA 94158
United States

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Joe Hawkins is co-founder of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, and is its first Executive Director. He is also a noted Oakland-based community organizer who has been at the forefront of LGBTQ advocacy in the Bay Area for almost 30 years. Joe is a seasoned non-profit executive, event producer and social entrepreneur. He first came to national prominence as a gay activist and one of the first out gay men to appear as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show defending his right to parent his then 6-year-old son. Among his many accomplishments, Joe has helped to manage multiple non-profit organizations with multi-million dollar budgets. He was the Director of Administration for AIDS Project of The East Bay and served on the Ryan White Planning Committee. He went on to become a founding member and organizer of the East Bay AIDS Walk, working in collaboration with the Starbucks Corporation. He worked as Regional Director of Innovative Housing in Marin County, a supportive housing services program for low income families, and was a founding organizer, Program Director, and eventual CEO of OpNet Community Ventures in San Francisco, the nation's first high-tech workforce development and training program for low income youth.

Joe has worked as a non-profit management consultant for 15 years and has helped many organizations improve the effectiveness of their service delivery to the community. He is the creator of many LGBTQ events and was the lead organizer and a founding member of Oakland Pride, where he served as Co-Chair for the first two years. He was also honored as a Grand Marshal of both the San Francisco and Oakland Pride parades. He is also the creator of Blatino Oasis, California's largest and longest running gay and bisexual men of color retreat held annually in Palm Springs. A decorated military veteran, Joe's social entrepreneurship and service to the community have been recognized with numerous awards, including proclamations by five mayors and three governors in California. His work with youth technology training programs was recognized by the White House and featured on Good Morning America and in numerous publications including USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. In 2014, the City of Oakland presented Joe with the Mayor's Proclamation, naming a day in his honor and in 2017, the Northern California chapter of the ACLU honored him with their highest award for community activism. Joe loves living in Oakland the Bay Area and enjoys camping on the beach, touring California, and is the proud father and grandfather of three grandchildren.