Joe Hawkins is a noted Oakland California based community organizer, LGBTQ advocate, non-profit executive, event producer, and social entrepreneur. Joe was named by Business Equality Magazine as one of the Top 50 over 50 LGBTQ Legacy Leaders for 2019 and the San Francisco Business Times: 2022 Selisse Berry - Leadership Legacy Award. Joe first came to national prominence as one of the first gay men to ever appear as a guest on the iconic Oprah Winfrey talk show during the early 90's, defending his right to parent his son as an out gay man. He was one of the many early HIV/AIDS activist and appeared on numerous talk shows to include Geraldo Rivera and the PBS documentary series Frontline, to highlight the often overlooked, intersectional issues experienced by Black LGBTQ people, to a national audience.  Among  his  many  accomplishments, Joe is a co-founder and former co-chair of Oakland Pride and was voted Grand Marshall of both the San Francisco and Oakland Pride Parades. He worked as a founding program member and CEO of OpNet Community Ventures, one America's first high-tech training programs, launched in 1995, for low income youth and youth of color in San Francisco and Joe served as Regional Director for Innovative Housing, a shared housing non-profit for low income families and individuals in Marin County.  He worked as the Director of Administration at AIDS Project of the East Bay (APEB), served on the Ryan White Planning Committee and was a founding organizer of  the  East  Bay  AIDS  Walk. Joe also created California’s largest and longest running Black LGBTQ Film Festival and produced California’s  longest  running  LGBTQ Hip-Hop event that lasted 25 years. He currently produces California’s largest and longest running gay and bisexual men  of color getaway held annually in Palm Springs, California. In 2017, Joe co-founded and is the CEO of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, Oakland's first all inclusive, intergenerational LGBTQ service center and a new model for service provision in Oakland. A military veteran, Joe’s service to the community has been recognized with numerous awards, including proclamations from 6 mayors of 3 cities and 4 governors in the state of California. His work with youth technology training programs was recognized by the White House and featured on Good Morning America and in numerous publications including USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. In 2014, the City of Oakland presented Joe with the Mayor's Proclamation, naming a day in his honor and in 2017, the Northern California chapter of the ACLU honored him with the Grover Dye award, their highest award for community activism. In 2018, his vision for LGBTQ wellness programming resulted in the LGBTQ center receiving the American Psychological Association's Presidential Citation Award.  Joe loves living in Oakland and the Bay Area and in his free time enjoys camping on the beach, touring California and spending time with his son and three beautiful grandchildren. Joe can be reached by email at or by phone at 510-882-2286.  ​


Business Equality Magazine as one of the Top 50 over 50 LGBTQ Legacy Leaders for 2019


San Francisco Business Times: 2022 Selisse Berry - Leadership Legacy Award

Iconic appearance on the Oprah Winfrey 
talk show


Geraldo Rivera talk show

PBS documentary series Frontline

Co-chair of Oakland Pride 

CEO of OpNet Community Ventures

Black LGBTQ Film Festival