I was told you shouldn't run.
There had certainly never been a person of color that had been
elected citywide to mayor.
Certainly not somebody that was gay.
I, you know, took all those things into consideration.
And, um, and I did it anyway.
My name is Robert Garcia.
I'm the mayor of Long Beach.
I was born in Lima Peru.
I came to the US with my family when I was five years old.
My mom cleaned houses when we got here, my aunt cleaned houses
when we got here, my grandma cleaned houses when we got here
English is my second language and I learned it by reading
a lot and I actually read a lot of comic books and I really identified
it as a kid with Superman because he was also an immigrant from
another planet, but still an immigrant kind of had to hide
who he was as someone that is a gay man.
I've been open about my identity since probably college.
It's never something that I hid away from.
I'm lucky that I had a really supportive family and, and friends
structure around me.
I'm probably the first mayor that hasn't come from the wealthiest
I definitely don't look or act like anybody that's been before
Hey, good to see you.
How's, uh, how's everything at the center today?
Getting ready for pride.
First of all, I love Long Beach pride.
It's incredibly diverse, all types of people.
just the full rainbow of what it means to be LGBT Q.
I think it's a really beautiful pride and I've been to a lot
I, I actually think it's the best one and I'm a big bike rider
So we ride bikes in the parade, the whole city comes out and
There's three parts of who I am that were challenging for different
reasons, being younger and being gay and being Latina and
being an immigrant on top of being a Latino.
Those communities were looking at me, not just as the first
but I can't and don't wanna ever mess it up.
There are only a handful of openly gay mayors in the United
States and when you count big cities, there's really only
two us in Seattle that have LGBT Q people leading and I got my
fair share of nasty letters and knocking on a door and people
being like, I'll never vote for you because you're gay little
notes saying I'm going to hell and I got all of that stuff as
someone that is a Latino and a gay man.
I really believe the intersectionality of those two movements
Latinos, Latinas that are queer.
If we're really gonna be a successful LGBT Q movement, we have
to support undocumented people and we have to support immigration
rights and we have to use our unique position to amplify each
Well, as far as like, what's next, I just got reelected by,
So I'm very happy about that.
I just wanna be the best mayor possible for Long Beach.
It's bigger than Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, New Orleans and
This is a huge city.
It's got complex challenges like any urban city, but it's
The future is really bright for Long Beach and I just wanna
make sure that as we invest and grow that we also don't lose
what makes Long Beach cool, which is a beautiful diverse population
a strong LGBT Q community, immigrants, hard working people
that just make this place have a cool vibe.