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Pride Grand Marshal and Honorary Marshal Announced

Jun 3, 2024

June 3, 2023 (Rochester, NY) –Sam Brett and Javannah Davis have been named Pride Grand Marshal and Pride Honorary Marshal of the 2024 Rochester Pride Parade & Festival. Both honorees will attend the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony, the Pride Parade & Festival, and other events throughout Pride Week in July.

The Pride Grand Marshal is a person who has made contributions to better the life of the LGBTQ+ Community in the Rochester Area in the past, present, and future. The Pride Honorary Marshal is a person who has made contributions to better the life of the LGBTQ+ Community and may have been overlooked in the past. Nominations were accepted online, and the winners were selected by volunteers dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride in the Greater Rochester area.

Pride Grand Marshal – Sam Brett (also known as Samantha Vega)

Sam Brett (Samuel Antonio Brett Sánchez) is a native Venezuelan who first came to Rochester in the early 90’s to attend the Biotechnology program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. While at RIT, Sam found his love for community organizing, philanthropy, and DRAG! Sam was a co-organizer for the RIT Drag Show (the first college sanctioned drag show in the region) while discovering his alter-ego “Samantha Vega”.

In 1995, Sam attended his first ever Gay Pride celebration in Rochester and fell in love with the Pride Picnic and the Pride Parade. Guided by a mentor in college, Sam started volunteering at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley (GAGV) in 1996 as a resource hotline phone operator. It was there he met the “elders” of the gay community and learned of gay life outside of campus.

In addition to GAGV, Sam has volunteered for many other organizations, including Hillside Children’s Center, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and AIDS Rochester, among others. In the past two decades, Sam has also served in many different leadership roles, including on the boards of AIDS Rochester (then AIDS Care, then Trillium Health) and MOCHA (also now part of Trillium Health).

As co-chair of the ROC Pride planning committee, Sam was part of the team that more than doubled Pride festival attendance to 10,000+ people. He also helped make Pride more inclusive by featuring BIPOC, trans, and non-binary performers. Sam later served as co-chair of the ROC Pride Collective, a group that coordinated Pride efforts following COVID, and is the current co-chair for the ROC Pride Picnic to benefit the Rainbow Seniors ROC.

Sam is the organizer and producer of the Latin Divas of Drag, the first drag show of its kind at the Great New York State Fair, featuring Latinx drag performers from all over NYS. Samantha Vega has been intertwined in Sam’s life all along, and her many accomplishments include being awarded “Honorary Miss Gay Finger Lakes” in 2024, Miss Gay Rochester in 2007, Miss Gay Syracuse in 2008, and Miss Gay Pride Buffalo in 2010.  Samantha Vega can be found at ROAR and is the hostess of Trivia and Karaoke Night on Wednesdays. She also hosts many college shows and facilitates diversity presentations and trainings at regional colleges and universities.

Sam was named one of Empire State Pride Agenda’s Community Champions in 2015 and was named to the Rochester Business Journal’s LGBTQ+ Power Leaders list in 2023.

Pride Honorary Marshal – Javannah J. Davis

A community health nurse with more than two decades of experience as a healthcare professional, Javannah is also an actress, a four-times-self-published author, and a columnist for Blaque/Out Magazine, which allows her to share her knowledge, compassion, experience, and encouragement to those in the LGBTQIA+ and allied communities.

Davis is the founder and president of the nonprofit organization W.A.V.E Women INC. and is the CEO/owner of Linjé Enterprises LLC. She is also a member of the Community Initiative for the local United Way, a member of the University of Rochester Community Advisory Board, a participant in Metro Justice of NY, and is an ordained minister.

In 2023, Javannah was featured on Rochester Business Journal's “Power List for LGBTQ+ Business Leaders." She received the Honorary Fatima Woods Award in both 2018 and 2021 by Next Generation Men of Transition, Roc Black Pride, and BlaqueOut Magazine for her contributions to the community. Javannah was also honored with the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition’s 2024 Monica Roberts Advocacy Award, a national recognition of the work she does as a Black transgender advocate.

About the Rochester Pride Parade & Festival

The Rochester Pride Parade and Festival will take place on July 20, 2024. The parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. at the intersection of South Avenue and Science Parkway. It will travel north on South Avenue and end at Highland Park (Beikirch Park). The festival will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Highland Park. It will include food, drinks, games, activities, vendor tables, live music, and performances. Tickets for the festival are on sale at rochesterpride.com (or click here for the direct link.) General admission tickets are $5 and VIP tickets are $50. Kids under 12 are free.

For more information, please visit the official Pride website at rochesterpride.com.