Dear Democrats for Equality,
With a heavy heart, we sadly inform you about the passing of Larry T. Baza, a longtime member of our club who served as President from 2009 to 2011.
A native of San Diego, Larry Baza dedicated his life to the arts and social justice movements. He helped collect financial and arts donations towards the establishment of Chicano Park in Barrio Logan, and participated in strikes and boycotts organized by United Farm Workers by providing non-perishable foods to farm worker families.
He was recruited by Christine Kehoe to join San Diego LGBT Pride’s 15/20 Committee in the late 1980’s, becoming Co-Chair of Pride along with Vertez Burks in 1992 — historically marking the first time Pride was led by two people of color.
In 2011, LAMBDA Archives honored his decades-long activism within the LGBTQ community, and was named an LGBT History Month Honoree by KPBS, featured in this video highlight here.
In 2016, then-Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins first appointed Larry to serve on the California Arts Council, and was reappointed by Atkins as Senate President Pro Tem in 2020. Last December, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as Chair, and is a past Chair of the City of San Diego’s Arts and Culture Commission.
Throughout his professional career, he owned Noel-Baza Fine Art in Little Italy with his husband Tom, and directed and managed a number of local arts organizations and businesses including Centro Cultural De La Raza, Sushi Performance and Visual Arts, Fingerhut Gallery, and Community Arts of San Diego.
Within our club, Larry was a respected voice and advocate for inclusivity, and a champion for progress. He was elected and served a number of times as a delegate to our state and national conventions.
I hope you will join us in keeping Larry Baza, his husband Tom Noel, and their immediate family in your thoughts as we remember our friend, and our brother.
Larry leaves us a legacy of advocacy and culture to aspire to, live up to, and continue fighting for.
May he rest in power.
Ryan Trabuco (he/him/his)
San Diego Democrats for Equality