The proclamation (provided in its entirety below) was done to show support for the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community and comes with June being celebrated as pride month across the country.
Sundquist made his proclamation at city hall and was joined members of the Jamestown Pride committee, which includes Steven Cobb, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County. Cobb said that June being designated as Pride Month stems from the June 28, 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.
“The riots were led by a group of trans African American activists,” Cobb explained. “During this time of great change in our society, I think we can find inspiration from the riots that took place [in 1969] and we can all remember the power of a few committed individuals starting a movement for the greater good of our community.”
Sundquist added that the proclamation was especially fitting in light of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding anti-discrimination rights for the LGBTQ+ community, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“I was shocked by the news out of Washington that our now conservative Supreme Court made a landmark decision on LGBTQ+ workplace rights. To rule that a federal law protects workers against discrimination against gender identity and sexual orientation is huge. I’ll be honest. I didn’t think it was something I would see in my lifetime,” Sundquist said.
Earlier this year the city’s Pride Committee had announced it was organizing Jamestown’s first ever Pride Festival. However, due to COVID-19 that event was postponed until next year. Still, Cobb noted there are things community members can do to help show support for and advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.
“There’s an amazing amount of queer video and film that is actually on Netflix and Amazon that has been put on there specifically for Pride Month. As we’re limited on what we can do to reach out and do together as a community, I think it’s essential to know the history of where we’ve come and possibly where we are going,” Cobb noted.
Cobb also said that the MHA is holding weekly meetings for its Southern Tier Queer Peers support group, which meets every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the MHA offices on Water St. in Jamestown.
The city’s Pride Committee is also hopeful that it will be able to organize a celebration later this year in October as part of National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Meanwhile, it was also announced the Fenton History Center is now accepting oral history submissions from members of the LGBTQ+ community who want to share their story as part of an effort to document and archive the local history of the movement for future generations.
PROCLAMATION – CITY OF JAMESTOWN, NY
Whereas The month of June is designated as LGBTQ+ Pride Month and it commemorates the Stonewall Rebellion that occurred in June of 1969 in New York City, New York; and,
Whereas Cities around the globe celebrate Pride Month with rallies, marches, parades, large festivals, and during this time diversity and the positive impact LGBTQ+ individuals have on the world is celebrated;
Whereas We are reminded that every generation has brought us closer to true equality, and recent achievements confirm that society will never stop striving for equality for everyone; and
Whereas The LGBTQ+ communities in Jamestown are an integral part of the City of Jamestown community; and
Whereas The City of Jamestown remains committed to protecting the civil rights of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities;
Now, Therefore, I, Edward A. Sundquist, Mayor of the City of Jamestown, do hereby proclaim the month of June 2020 as Pride Month in the City of Jamestown, and urge all residents to join in ending prejudice everywhere it may exist, respect and advocate for the rights of all people, and celebrate the diversity in the City of Jamestown.
In Witness Whereof, I have set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Jamestown to be affixed this 22nd day of June, 2020.
– Edward A. Sundquist