Caesar Zepeda struggled with his sexuality before coming out in a big and fabulous way in front of millions of people. After rejection from his family, he reached a low part of his life but rebounded by being an activist in his community and being an example for those younger than him. Today he is the first openly gay man on the city council in Richmond, California, located in the San Francisco Bay area.
In addition, the state of California has unique laws regarding the procedures for elections that end in a tie. Hear Cesar talk about the game of chance that won him the election (spoiler alert: later counts showed there was not a tie after all and he had indeed won by votes)
Be motivated during these tough times by his inspiring story of resilience, determination, and giving back to the next generations.
Cesar believes it is important to give back to the community that shaped his outlook and opportunities. When Cesar was eight, his family immigrated from Guadalajara, Mexico to Richmond to provide opportunity to their family. Cesar grew up in Richmond and San Pablo, attending Helms Elementary School, Richmond High School and Contra Costa College. The opportunities afforded to Cesar and his family shaped his outlook and inspired his volunteerism and spirit to give-back.
Cesar is the founder and former president of the Hilltop District Neighborhood Council. He is also the president and founder of the Hilltop District Homeowners & Stakeholders Association. As president, Cesar demanded accountability from the City of Richmond. He jump-started completion of a park that was in the works for 16 years, successfully advocated for installation of light poles that were down for eight years, and new ADA accessible sidewalks. His vision spurred various projects around the neighborhood, including, planting fruit trees at the Lake Park for all to enjoy, wayfinding signs with lights, and continued advocacy towards walkable and ADA accessible streets.
Cesar co-founded Richmond’s first LGBTQI organization, Richmond Rainbow Pride. He also started Bring the Music Back, a campaign to raise funds to revive Richmond school music programs. He helped raised over $250,000 toward new instruments at Richmond High School and other Richmond schools. His community involvement is what helped the Richmond School Marching Band.
As an elected official, he currently serves as President of the West County Wastewater District, serving San Pablo, parts of Pinole and the northern areas of Richmond. His priority is to protect public health and the environment during collection, treatment, and disposal of wastewater. Work is underway to replace 15,000 feet of sewers in to increase the safety and reliability of wastewater services. Our sewage facility will be one of the first all-green, carbon neutral, energy generating plants in California.
Communities thrive when neighbors help each other out. That’s why Cesar co-founded Calle 23, a group dedicated to enhancing, promote, and improve the neighborhood in and around one of Richmond’s busiest streets – 23rd Street.
Cesar founded The Food Emporium, a community event that incorporated food-trucks, music, and car show to help bring our communities together. The event was held at the lake at Hilltop and at East Brothers Brewery in Point Richmond.
Cesar works as a Health & Benefits consultant. This is what Cesar does for work. For a living – what he does that motivate and inspire him – is to give back and help others. That’s why he was recognized in 2018 by Diablo Magazine’s 40 under 40.