For the first time in San Mateo’s history and for the second time in Redwood City’s history, an LGBT flag was raised in their respective cities Monday.
Recorded live online, the city councils of both cities have proclaimed June as Pride Month in their communities. They’re among a growing number of cities joining the annual tradition that recognizes, supports and celebrates LGBT community members. Community leaders said the ceremonies came at an important time in history. The public promotions of inclusivity come amid national unrest over George Floyd, an African American man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.
In San Mateo, Mayor Joe Goethels was joined by Councilmember Amourence Lee in the presentation of a Pride Month proclamation to Craig Wiesner, member of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission. Francisco Sapp, program director for San Mateo County Pride Center, also spoke during the event about the need to recognize a world “that is hurting right now.”
Added Wiesner,”…Until we all stand up for anyone who is being persecuted, based on the color of their skin, their ancestry, their immigration status, their abilities or disabilities, or how they present and who they love, this rainbow that we’re about to raise represents our aspirations, not everyone’s reality. It’s been 57 years since the march on Washington, and 51 years since the Stonewall Riots, and we still got a whole lot of work to do.”
At Redwood City’s flag-raising ceremony at Courthouse Square, Mayor Diane Howard provided opening remarks followed by Dana Johnson, member of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission.
“The rainbow flag is widely recognized as the symbol of pride, inclusion and support for social movements that advocate for LGBTQ people in our society,” Howard said. “Redwood City is a welcoming city, we support visibility and equality for LGBTQ people in our diverse community.”
Johnson thanked the city and echoed the sentiment that more needs to be done to ensure justice for all.
“In America, we are not safe as a marginalized community to express our originality, uniqueness, racial and sexuality expressions, and identity, so the LGBTQ community created a visibility project to break those barriers,” Johnson said. “It’s impactful and historical if we can get all cities in San Mateo County to join this visibility project to raise the pride and show the LGBTQ+ community members that they are supported and have freedom of expression and visibility of the LGBTQ+ culture.”
Joining Howard and Johnson at today’s flag-raising were Councilmembers Giselle Hale, Diane Reddy and Ian Bain.
“Change is slow until it’s fast. It’s up to each of us to create the momentum for change,” Hale posted on social media following the ceremony. “We are being reminded that we can never let up in the fight for equality. All are welcome in Redwood City. All belong.”
The LGBT flags will be flown throughout the month of June.
On Friday, the City of San Carlos will also have a flag-raising ceremony at 5 p.m.