Greenfield holds flag-raising ceremony in honor of Pride Month

  • Jason Phillips of the Greenfield Department of Public Works and Jake Krain, a member of the Franklin County Pride Committee, raise the Pride flag Wednesday following a short ceremony on the Greenfield Common. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Jake Krain, a member of the Franklin County Pride Committee, addresses those gathered for a Franklin County Pride ceremony on the Greenfield Common on Wednesday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner addresses those gathered for a Franklin County Pride ceremony on the Greenfield Common on Wednesday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/3/2020 5:10:41 PM

GREENFIELD — A smaller-than-normal group gathered Wednesday morning on the Greenfield Common to raise the Pride flag as the city has done the past four years, but not before acknowledging the death of George Floyd and the plight of minorities throughout the country.

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner began the 15-minute ceremony, with about 10 in attendance standing 6 feet apart, by saying the city stands in solidarity with “black brothers and sisters” everywhere who are dealing with anger and frustration over brutality at the hands of police.

Wedegartner went on to read her proclamation to, as President Barack Obama did for the country when he was in office, declare June “Pride Month” in Greenfield.

She said the struggles for dignity and equality that LGBTQ people face are real, and she asked that all who live in Greenfield strive to eliminate prejudice wherever it exists and celebrate the city’s “great diversity” by taking part in community events that focus on and celebrate LGBTQ neighbors, though many have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Franklin County Pride Committee member Jake Krain said the Pride parade, which for the past three years started at the middle school and made its way to Energy Park, is canceled this year. Instead, the committee is accepting videos of people showing their support for the LGBTQ community. Last year, about 1,000 people marched in the parade.

“It was definitely a disappointment to have to cancel it this year,” he said. “We’ll post the video on our website and on YouTube once it’s finished.”

Krain thanked the city for its support.

“Pride reminds us to celebrate our differences,” he said. “It reminds us to stand up for everyone who is marginalized.”

Then, Krain and the city’s Department of Public Works raised the flag, which will stay on the common throughout the month. As the flag headed to the top of the pole, just under the American flag, a couple of people in vehicles waiting for the traffic light to change on Bank Row honked their horns in support.

Pride Month is celebrated every June — typically with parades, festivals and concerts throughout the world — in tribute to those involved in the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969 that helped launch the gay rights movement.

For more information about Franklin County Pride or submitting a video, visit franklincountypride.org.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.


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