‘Good morning, gays’: City reopens Harvey Milk Promenade Park


Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune

The ribbon cutting ceremony at the grand re-opening of the Harvey Milk Promenade Park on Promenade and 3rd Street in downtown Long Beach, Tuesday, May 14.

City officials celebrated Harvey Milk Promenade Park’s grand reopening and honored three local LGBTQ+ leaders– Dr. Angela Bowen, Sabreena and Tim Patton– who were inducted into the Equality Plaza Honor Wall on Tuesday, May 14.

The chairman of the Harvey Milk Park Equality Plaza Selection Committee, Roy Sylvester, said, “Harvey Milk Park and the Equality Plaza was created in 2012 to honor and recognize leaders in th LGBTQ community in Long Beach.

The recognition is given to individuals who have given up their time, talents and passion to help advance the Long Beach LGBTQ movement in the same spirit that Harvey Milk did himself.”

Lissette Mendoza| Signal Tribune
Dr. Jennifer Lynn Abod accepts recognition on behalf of her wife, the late Dr. Angela Bowen, who was inducted onto the Equality Plaza Honor Wall, Tuesday, May 14.

“It was a labor of love,” said Sylvester, as he spoke of the year and a half process of reinventing the park as a “usable gathering spot.”

The renovation included Measure A-funded elements, such as a new staircase that connects the City Place parking garage to the park, enhanced accessibility in the area and outdoor furniture that includes benches with solar-charging devices and a ping-pong table.

“Good morning, gays,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia as he greeted the diverse audience of over 100 people. He inducted Bowen, Patton and Sabreena into the Equality Plaza Honor Wall.

The late Bowen was the first black woman and outspoken lesbian hired at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) in the Women’s Studies and English departments. Her award was accepted by her wife Dr. Jennifer Lynn Abod.

Patton became the first openly gay staff member of the City of Long Beach’s Legislative Department in 1992. He worked to help pass the City’s Domestic Partnership Ordinance, attain marriage equality and extend city employee benefits to LGBTQ domestic partners and their dependents. He currently works as the LGBTQ community liaison for the City of Long Beach and is senior administrative deputy to Garcia.

Sabreena has been a charitable figure in the drag community for the past 25 years, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities, scholarship funds and community organizations. She is currently vice president of the Long Beach Imperial Court, the longest running LGBTQ nonprofit in Long Beach, and is a board member with the Long Beach AIDS Food Store.