The City of St. Helena raised the Progress Pride Flag on its ceremonial flagpole Tuesday in celebration of Pride Month, which is celebrated in June and dedicated to inclusion, diversity, and the uplifting of LGBTQ voices and the support of LGBTQ rights.
The Progress Pride Flag is an evolution of the traditional Rainbow Pride Flag and incorporates a chevron containing stripes that represent the transgender community and people of color.
Vice Mayor Paul Dohring offered these words to the occasion: "As we raise this beautiful Progress Flag for the first time, let us see it not only as a symbol of pride and celebration but also one of resistance and solidarity."
No large gathering was planned due to COVID-19 restrictions, but in attendance were Dohring, Mayor Geoff Ellsworth, City Councilmember Anna Chouteau, City Clerk Cindy Tzafopoulos, community member Anne Wheaton and Anne Sutkowi-Hemstreet from Rainbow Action Network.
Ellsworth referenced the flag as a symbol of St. Helena's inclusiveness as a community and its ongoing commitment to civil rights and human dignity for a full-spectrum community.
Ellsworth read an excerpt of a poem by Denise Shelton recognizing the intent of the original designer of the Pride Flag, Gilbert Baker:
"No matter who we are
As long as love is in our hearts
And freedom can endure
As long as we seek justice
Equality for all
The rainbow flag unites us"