Over 50 people turned out for the Pride Flag Raising on Tracy Plaza as part of Jamestown Pride Fest on Saturday.
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said the ceremony represented how far the community had come despite adversity. He said, however, his heart was heavy over the mass shootings that have taken place recently, how abortion rights are being threatened, and how how the nation is divided.
Sundquist read passages from his Pride month speech in June 2020 that took place during the height of COVID Pandemic, citing their relevance today, “Every time I turn on the news, I feel defeated. I feel as though our community tried to take one step forward and is thrown two steps back. But that’s the thing about our community. It does not waver. It does not stop fighting. You may knock us down, but we get right back up.”
Sundquist said one of the most incredible things about the Queer community is how it fights for others, “Our ability to fight for the rights of marginalized people, to share the fight for basic human rights. Now let me be clear, you mess with any of us, you get all of us.”
Sundquist also shared a proclamation designating June as Pride Month in Jamestown.
Jamestown High School Gay-Straight Alliance President Arron Loomis said having a Pride Fest in the area is crucial, “It provided a safe space for us to come together and be ourselves, which many of us are not able to do so at home or school. Jamestown Pride has also allowed us to meet smaller Queer communities in our county and celebrate the diversity closer to home. Having a local Pride festival demonstrates how far we’ve come as an area.”
Loomis said there are over 238 bills limiting LGBTQ rights this year alone, with most of them targeting trans people in regards to youth sports to denial of gender affirming care. In 2021, the Human Rights Campaign said over 50 fatalities of transgender and gender-non conforming people were due to violent attacks.
Loomis said there has been backlash at local schools due to the observance of Pride month, “I know a number of youth who have experienced homophobia and transphobia throughout the school year. This hate does not only exist because of youth. Hate is learned. Even in public, there’s many of us who have dealt with hate, ranging from slurs to death threats. This is why education and Pride are essential. It allows for those around us to see that we are human beings with lives and families. We have aspirations and dreams.”
The Progress Flag that was raised on Tracy Plaza is a redesign of the rainbow flag from 1978 that celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ community and calls for a more inclusive society.