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2011: Heroes, Pioneers & Trailblazers
Larry Baza
Al Best
Bill Beck
Stewart Bornhoft
Sara Beth Brooks
Doug Case
Max Disposti
Gloria Johnson
Jennifer LeSar
George Murphy
Carol Pierce
Judith Schaim
Jeff Wynne

Gloria Johnson

Gloria Johnson is a nationally-recognized activist on behalf of the LGBT community, feminist issues and Democratic politics. Gloria first moved to San Diego in the early 1960s to attend college at then-undergraduate California Western University. She returned to San Diego after three years of studying social work and psychology in the Los Angeles area. Gloria worked for San Diego County for thirty years; during the latter half of her tenure she served as one of the first social workers in San Diego to work with people with AIDS in the AIDS Case Management Program. Gloria is a member of the SEIU labor union and the San Diego Unitarian Universalist Church.

Much of her activism has been in Democratic Politics, starting in 1972 with Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s groundbreaking campaign as the first African American to run for President. In 1976, Gloria became the first openly gay/lesbian person elected to the San Diego Democratic Central Committee, and was elected to that body again in the 1990s. She served as a delegate to the 1996 and 2000 Democratic National Conventions, and has been on the campaign staffs of Christine Kehoe, Donna Frye and Mike Aguirre, among others.

Gloria has also been active in the LGBT community since the 1970s and was co-chair of a committee created to defeat the Briggs Initiative (or Proposition 6): the 1978 state ballot proposition that would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. She joined the newly formed San Diego Democratic Club in 1977 and became President of the club in 1980. Gloria served on the SDDC board once more in the 1990s and is still a very active member of the organization. Most recently she was Co-Chair of the California Democratic Party LGBT Caucus.

Gloria is a longtime leader on feminist issues as well: she has been a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) for over thirty years. Gloria campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) with NOW and she and other activists spent 2 days in a Washington, DC jail after protesting the ERA’s defeat. Listed among The Advocate’s top 400 US gay leaders in 1984, Gloria has worked tirelessly for social justice over the past four decades in feminist, LGBT and political communities.