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Our Grand Marshals - Past and Present:

2015 Grand Marshals

Claudia Alick | Associate Producer, Community, Oregon Shakespeare:

Claudia Alick is an Associate Producer at the Oregon Shakespeare, producing events that bring OSF into artistic collaboration with our community such as "The Green Show", The Daedalus Project, and Juneteenth, OSF Open Mics as well as producing audio-plays with OSF such as the Grammy nominated "Hamlet".

Her latest one person Show “Fill in the Blank” exploring disability and the medical industry was last performed in OSF’s Presents series and she recently spoke at TedxFargo.

Named by American Theater Magazine as one of 25 theater artists who will shape American Theater in the next 25 years, Alick has served as the Artistic Director of Smokin' Word Productions, is a playwright, NYC Fresh Fruit directing award recipient, and featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.

For additional details click hereClick Here.

Matthew Reynolds | Theatre Arts Performer, Instructor:

Matthew Reynolds is our Honorary Grand Marshal, and has over 26 years of experience as a performer and instructor in the Theatre Arts. In the Seattle, Washington area, he has been a guest artist at the Jewel Box Theater, Freehold Theater, TRIP, On the Boards, the Bellevue Art Museum, and the Maureen Whiting Dance Company.

Matthew also had his own dance company in Seattle, From Funky to Fierce, for two and half years before moving to Amsterdam to perform with IDNT Production Company. Matthew also has worked in the Rogue Valley with Camelot Theater as an instructor, and on the stage. Currently, Matthew serves as the Instructor/Director of Theatre Arts & Dance at Crater Renaissance Academy of Arts and Sciences, where the Drama department was honored to represent the USA at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 and 2014.

Matthew was part of the adult group who helped youth in the Rogue Valley to form the non-profit organization Lotus Rising Project, in which he sat on the board for seven years. Matthew holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Master of Theatre Studies in Production and Design from Southern Oregon University.

Matthew’s philosophy of education is based on community. Crater drama and dance department’s mission statement is “Creating Community through the Arts.” With this idea in the forefront of everything they do relationships have been grown between professional dance company DPC, Oregon Shakespeare, Southern Oregon University, Central Point Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Oregon. The purpose of education is to produce people that are respectful, honest, hold themselves accountable for their actions, and create a genuine excitement about knowledge. All of these attributes have helped to produce good people, in a supportive community setting, and that is what Matthew Reynolds wishes for all.

2014 Grand Marshals

Janelle Wilson | Coordinator, Queer Resource Center, Southern Oregon University:

Born in Grants Pass, Janelle believes in education as a tool for change and that positive connections and relationships are key to an equitable, enriching, social justice-oriented community where diversity is celebrated. These beliefs were cultivated greatly by her family and they continue to inspire the work with which she engages.

Janelle holds a B.A. in Multicultural and Gender Studies from CSU, Chico and an M.A. in Women’s Studies in Religion from Claremont Graduate University. Janelle has worked to empower and provide support for the queer, questioning, and allied community since 2003. She has been the Coordinator of the Queer Resource Center at Southern University since 2005. Working with absolutely remarkable students on a daily basis is a constant inspiration for her work with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. In addition to her role as Coordinator, Janelle is the current Chair for the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Council, an adjunct professor for the the same program, co-founder of the Bias Response Team, is a member of Violence Prevention and Response Advocates, and was previously a staff member-in-residence for the Gender Inclusive floors for four years at Southern Oregon University.

In 2013 SOU was named one of theTop 25 Most LGBT-Friendly Colleges/UniversitiesbyCampus Pride and in 2014 was also honored by BuzzFeed when they posted these findings and featured SOU's ranking. This is an enormous honor for our campus and Ashland community as well as a testament to the truly great and impactful work that is being at SOU and in our Valley.

Janelle is ridiculously grateful for Southern Oregon Pride, for Gina DuQuenne as well as the many members of the Board who make this happen each year, for the important work they do in our community, and for the enormous surprise present they gave to her when she was asked to be Grand Marshal for 2014.

Peter Frechette | Actor:

Peter Frechette is our Honorary Grand Marshal, and is an actor at the Oregon Shakespeare. Off-Broadway he has appeared in Absent Friends, The Destiny of Me, What the Butler Saw, and The Dazzle, for which he won the Obie Award. His Broadway credits include Eastern Standard, which won him the Theatre World Award and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play and a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play; Our Country's Good, for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play; and the 2005 revival of The Odd Couple. Frechette's first major screen role was the hormone-driven Louis DiMucci in Grease 2. Additional film credits include No Small Affair, The Hills Have Eyes Part II, The First Wives Club, Inside Man, The Savages, and Miracle at St. Anna.

Frechette appeared in numerous television series, including The Facts of Life, Taxi, Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, L.A. Law, and Matlock, before being cast in the recurring role of gay artist Peter Montefiore in thirtysomething. The 1989 episode "Strangers" generated a great deal of controversy because it depicted Peter and Russell Weller, portrayed by David Marshall Grant, in bed, seemingly naked after having had sexual relations following a first date. A number of advertisers refused to run commercials during the broadcast, and ABC opted not to air the episode again during summer reruns. Frechette was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his performance. Frechette subsequently appeared in Picket Fences, Barbarians at the Gate, and M.A.N.T.I.S., among others, before being cast in the regular role of computer expert George Fraley in Profiler. He since has been featured on Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Frechette's longtime partner is director David Warren.

For additional details click hereClick Here.

2013 Grand Marshals

Leslie Becknell Marx | Minister - Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship:

Leslie Becknell Marx is the minister of the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ashland, Oregon. She and her family moved here from Massachusetts in the summer of 2010 for her to serve the congregation in her first full-time ministry. In Massachusetts, all couples have the freedom to marry. She remembers fondly marrying George and Joe in a charming inn in Boston and was glad she remembered to put tissues in her pocket to dab the tears as they exchanged their vows.

Unitarian Universalist ministers have been uniting same-sex couples with formal affirmation from the denomination for 30 years. Rev. Leslie was thrilled to discover that the congregation in Ashland had a strong history of welcoming LGBT individuals and families. For four years the church has put on the Bodacious Rainbow Ball near Valentine’s Day with proceeds donated to Lotus Rising Project. Unitarian Universalists (UUs) affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Those UUs who have a concept of God (not all do) trust that God, the creative and loving force at the center of all, is filled with love for all people.

Before becoming a minister, Leslie worked in marketing and innovation for Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and IBM. She briefly had a training and consulting firm called Conversation that Matters which supported individuals and teams to have more productive, creative and authentic communication.

She and her husband, Adam, are thrilled to be raising their four year old son in this beautiful valley. Adam is a counselor and coach who guides people in transition to move from breakdown to breakthrough.

Peter Buckley | Democratic Politician representing District 5, Southern Oregon:

Peter J. Buckley is our Honorary Grand Marshal. A Democratic politician from the U.S. State of Oregon. He represents District 5, consisting of Ashland, Phoenix, Talent, Jacksonville, Ruch and Applegate, in the Oregon House of Representatives

Peter Buckley has served a pro-equality champion in the House of Representatives since 2004. Following his first session in 2005, Peter’s colleagues elected him as the their Assistant Democratic Leader where he helped to secure a Democratic majority in the House for the first time in over a decade. Peter is dedicated to winning back the House with a pro-equality majority and has a 100% Pro-Equality voting record with BRO.

Representative Buckley will be running for reelection in 2014. www.peterbuckley.org

Eduardo Placer | Entrepreneur, Actor, and Educator:

Eduardo Placer is our Honorary Grand Marshal, and is an entrepreneur, actor, and educator currently based in Ashland, OR.

Eduardo has been a professional actor working and living all over the United States and is currently an Acting Company member at the Oregon Shakespeare in My Fair Lady and The Heart of Robin Hood. This summer Eduardo served as Director of THE DAEDALUS PROJECT, OSF's annual HIV/AIDS Fundraiser.

Eduardo also recently launched FEARLESS COMMUNICATORS. FEARLESS COMMUNICATORS is a dynamic professional and personal coaching business working to empower leaders and change-makers all over the world.

 Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: stand4fearless

2012 Grand Marshals

Kate Brown | Secretary of State, Oregon:

Secretary of State Kate Brown has spent more than 20 years serving the people of Oregon.

After growing up in Minnesota and getting her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Kate came to Oregon to attend Lewis and Clark’s Northwestern School of Law. There, she received her law degree and Certificate in Environmental Law.

Over the years, Kate has worked in family and juvenile law, taught at Portland State University and worked with the Juvenile Rights Project.

Motivated to continue her service, Kate became a candidate to represent her neighborhood in the State House of Representatives – winning by a mere seven votes. After two successful terms, she won a spot in the State Senate. In 1998, she was elected Democratic Leader of the Senate and in 2004, her colleagues elected her as Senate Majority Leader – the first woman in Oregon history to earn that job.

Kate has had many legislative achievements – leading efforts to reduce the cost of healthcare, ensure education dollars reach the classroom and protect Oregon’s uniquely livable communities.

Kate has been a leader in making Oregon’s government accountable and transparent. She successfully pushed to get legislative meetings held in communities around the state and she spearheaded landmark legislation creating a searchable database of campaign contributions. The Oregonian described the law as the best campaign finance disclosure law in the nation.

For her work, Kate has received numerous awards:
  • National Public and Community Service Award from the American Mental Health Counselors Association
  • Elected Chair of the Council of State Governments West
  • “Profiles in Courage” Award from Basic Rights Oregon
  • Legislator of the Year Award from the Oregon Psychological Association
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement by the Oregon Family Support Network
  • Women of Achievement Award from the Oregon Commission for Women
  • Recognized for efforts to improve safety and well-being of firefighters by the Oregon State Firefighters Council
  • Living Legend Award from the Oregon Bus Project

Kate lives in Portland with her husband Dan.

For more information, visitwww.katebrownfororegon.comor like us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/KateBrownOregon.

Sylvia Guerrero | Mother of Gwin Araujo:

Sylvia Guerrero is our Honorary Grand Marshal. She is the mother of Gwen Araujo. Gwen was a vibrant trans-gender teenager who was murdered in Newark, Ca. October 2002. Sylvia honors Gwen, and trans –gender victims of hate crimes everywhere be speaking out. She is an educator and inspiration.

Before the events of October 2002, Sylvia’s life was much like yours and mine. She was a daughter, student and a successful business woman. The future held marriage, children, divorce and murder.

(For more information www.GwenAraujo.com)

2011 Grand Marshals

Beth F. Coye | Commander, United States Navy (Retired):

Retired Navy Commander Beth F. Coye, known in Oregon as a public advocate and writer, has fought for the rights of military gays and lesbians over a span of many years.  She lobbied on Capitol Hill with the primary Repeal-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell GLBT interest group, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), as both a Board member and a member of its Military Advisory Council.

Beth has also written extensively about equal rights and freedom for the GLBT community and her op-eds have been published throughout the country.  Perhaps her most piercing oped was. Time for Senator McCain to Support Ending the Military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy, THE SEATTLE TIMES, Dec. 3, 2010, available at:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2013590412_guest04coye.html.

Born and raised in a Navy family, she subsequently served 21 years of active duty as a naval officer, which included 3 tours of intelligence duty as well as a commanding officer assignment.  Beth speaks passionately and personally about why our country and our politico-military leaders must act so that all of its military men and women are treated with dignity, respect and honor.  She first felt the sting of discrimination while serving as a young lieutenant in the ‘60s and being turned down for a top job purely because of her gender.  Later, she helped open up opportunities for Navy women, including serving on ships and attending the military academies.

During 2010, the tumultuous year of bringing down Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Commander Coye originated and edited an important document, “We Are Family Too", a Book of Letters by 37 former and retired military gays and lesbians.  The Pentagon Study Group was more readily able to understand the need for repeal through its reading of this book of personal stories.   [WE ARE FAMILY TOO (2010), available at:http://www.scribd.com/doc/44499016/We-Are-Family-Too-Letters-to-the-Pentagon-from-LGB-Military-Voices.]

Beth lives with her longtime companion of over 30 years, Esther Bell and their two bichons, Callie and Willie.

Article: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": A Personal Journey to Activism

Article: Looking Back: The End of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

John Stromberg | Mayor, Ashland Oregon:

John Stromberg worked for over 20 years as an organization and management consultant, primarily in the corporate world but also with community non-profit organizations. His major emphases were on enabling small groups to work more effectively, facilitating organizational change, and training workers to do highly complex jobs involving customer contact.

He has a PhD in Business Administration and a Masters in Statistics from UC, Berkeley, and a BS in Physics from Caltech. While writing his dissertation on the Federal Defense Budget process he was an economist for the RAND Corporation, the first "think tank", in Santa Monica.

He and his wife, Jane, have been married for 38 years and have two adult daughters and three grandchildren.

A native Californian, he has lived in Oregon for 22 years. He and his wife resided in Eugene for 14 years prior to moving to Ashland in 2000. While there he received a Heart of the Arts award for his work in creating a public-private partnership to save the City of Eugene's public art gallery. He was subsequently appointed to the City's Commission on the Future of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, which he co-chaired for a year.

John believes in community engagement. For the past four years he has been deeply involved in City government. He began as a citizen lobbying the Council to do a new plan for the Downtown and subsequently volunteered on Jack Hardesty’s successful campaign for City Council. He was appointed to the Planning Commission in spring of 2005 and completed his second term as Chair in 2008.

His goals for the City include broadening Ashland's appeal to visitors, to be not only a beautiful and enjoyable place to come for world class theater but also a renowned center for sustainability with its own university, and a retreat in trying times, where visitors can renew their energy and their hope for the future.

He also rates ensuring the long-term security of Ashland's water supply, managing wild fire risks, promoting localization of agriculture, developing a land use plan built around multi-modal transportation, and controlling city spending as high priority items for City government.

John welcomes discussing issues and concerns with members of the public, and can be reached by mail at 20 East Main Street, by phone (541) 552-2104. He keeps office hours at City Hall on Wednesday afternoons.

John was elected in November 2008 for a term ending December 31, 2012.

2010 Grand Marshal