HomeCity Government NewsGroup Calls on City Council to Proclaim June Pride Month

Group Calls on City Council to Proclaim June Pride Month

Over the past month, residents and La Cañada Congregational Church Pastor Kyle Sears have amplified their request to the City Council to proclaim June as Pride month and fly the Pride flag at all municipal locations where a flagpole is present in La Cañada Flintridge.
The group, LCF Pride, has also been passing around a petition for people to show their support. It has collected 248 signatures so far.
“When the city recognizes citizens who are traditionally marginalized, threatened or made to feel unwelcome, its leadership communicates the intrinsic value that they bring to our community,” Sears said. “The aim of civic government is for the common flourishing of its people. Because the rhetoric against LGBTQ people has seen a marked increase locally and nationally, naming Pride month establishes La Cañada Flintridge as a place where all are welcome.”
This proclamation is nothing new to the state of California and neighboring cities, such as Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena, who have claimed June as Pride month in the past. LCF resident Christian McMahon, who identifies as transgender, grew up in the city. After spending some time away from LCF, he came back to live in the community and was surprised to find the LCF Pride group.
“I feel really lucky [to have this group],” McMahon said. “It makes me feel a lot more welcome.”
While growing up and talking with friends, McMahon said that “none of us could really imagine ourselves in this town, because there just was absolutely no visibility.”
But McMahon said a proclamation could change that for future generations.
“I think that it’s important for the younger people who are growing up here now to be able to see themselves as valued members of the community,” McMahon said. “Especially because I think a lot of people during the coming-out process feel especially vulnerable, and I mean, a flag and a proclamation can really move people and make them feel safe.”
Jenni Jewett, a two-year resident, feels the same as McMahon, and is happy that such a group exists for the community.
Although she does not identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, “I want my kids to grow up being open and knowing that people are people, [and] everything is on a spectrum.”
She said that a proclamation during this time is not seen as being “progressive” anymore, but rather, the right thing to do.
“I think that as a community, and our leaders especially, should be setting policies and standing up for things that make everybody in the community feel safe and welcome,” Jewett said.
“My sincere hope is that our kids grow up in a space where they know that they can be exactly who they are, and I think that the petition is a step in that direction,” she added.
Suzanne Goldberg, a resident for 46 years, also spoke at a recent City Council meeting, saying she has three family members who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, “including my eldest daughter who, after graduating from UC Davis, decided to live and work in the Bay Area because she feels that she and her spouse fit in better there.”
“There are so many LGBTQ families in our city, and like me, they move here because all the goodness of the city, and the great education that the city can provide for their children, but a lot of them don’t feel accepted,” Goldberg said, adding that she has heard of children being bullied at school because their parents identify as LGBTQ+.
Over the years, Goldberg said that she has had the pleasure of seeing new families come into the community and witnessing the demographics change.
“I think we should be an inclusive city; we should reach out to welcome everyone who comes to our city, regardless of their race, color, religion, sexual orientations [and] social makeup,” Goldberg said. “And I believe that these people are a great asset to our communities, and we should hear them, we should acknowledge them and welcome them.”
As residents spoke at recent City Council meetings in favor of a Pride month, others in the audience showed their distaste for the topic, some even standing up and leaving.
Sears said at one of the meetings that, “the hesitancy of the council to make a proclamation recognizing Pride month has very little to do with procedure and precedent, and it seems to be more to do with fear.”
“My role in the community is to notice the 1%, to name their place among the 99, and to understand that without them, our community is not fully whole,” he added. “If this matter finds its place on the agenda, then you would have to make your opinion known, and that can be scary.”
Mayor Michael Davitt told the Outlook Valley Sun that the council is looking into a policy for recognizing groups in the community.
“The City Council agreed unanimously that the city should consider a policy for formally recognizing groups and communities through proclamations or other actions,” Davitt said. “The City Council further agreed that this topic would be included in the council’s comprehensive strategic planning process that will be undertaken later this year.”

First published in the May 23 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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