Display rainbow flags in LGBTQ solidarity

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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Across our communities, rainbow flags signal the month of June as a celebration of LGBTQ Pride.

This year we invite Riverside and North Riverside to display the rainbow flag and support its message of recognition and respect. 

Pride month is especially meaningful for young people whose health and well-being are shaped by their identities. Too often LGBTQ teens and young adults experience discrimination and rejection -- even in their own schools and communities. The visibility of the rainbow flag lets everyone know our residents, our communities and our governments support them.

Just last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public spaces, education, jury services, credit and federal funding. 

According to the Human Rights Commission, this landmark achievement is the result of unified efforts to insist on civil rights for LGBTQ Americans. This historic legislation across party lines represents an accomplishment as significant as the June 2015 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage -- a decision that enables families to participate fully in school, work and community.

Last year, residents in Riverside and North Riverside flew more than 100 rainbow flags during the month of June. We hope to see even more this year, and invite our local governments to do the same. 

For more information about Pride month or questions and concerns, please contact Indivisible West Suburban Action League at info@actionleague.org.

Helen Gallagher

Indivisible West Suburban Action League

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Reader Comments

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Helen Gallagher from Riverside   

Posted: June 19th, 2019 9:14 AM

Mr. Flight, your thoughtful response is exactly the kind of discourse that Indivisible West Suburban Action League supports. We aim for engagement and participation in local, state, and national issues to promote positive and dynamic discussion and debate. Our decision to donate rainbow flags to the villages of Riverside and North Riverside is a direct result of two years of laying the groundwork to determine the effect of displaying the rainbow flag in our communities for LGBTQ Pride Month. We found widespread support and acted accordingly. If you examine our other efforts, you will see that we advocate for voter registration and turnout, robust education on issues, and greater voice and representation of marginalized Americans.

Michael Flight from Riverside  

Posted: June 18th, 2019 8:36 AM

The only flags displayed by the village of Riverside should be the American flag, Illinois flag and Riverside flag. All other flags by their very nature, since they are a symbol, could be seen as divisive, sectarian and favoring one group over another. For example, the Village of Riverside probably has more Americans of Mexican descent than LGBT residents; should the Mexican flag be flown during the month of May? And the same for Italians in October, Irish in March or for that matter a Black Lives Matter flag during the month of February. We are all citizens or residents of the US, Illinois and Riverside, living under the US constitution, the Illinois constitution and Riverside municipal codes. Those are completely inclusive for residents and citizens living in Riverside. Those are the things that unite us into a beautiful and diverse community. You are more than welcome to display any flag, symbol or sign on your own property or person. I fully, 100% support your right to free speech. Any other type of flag on public property unnecessarily sows is discord and distrust among neighbors. Additionally, flags by their nature are symbols of cultural values and flying those flags are an imposition of those values over the residents and tax payers of that locality. To illustrate my point, would you allow the following flags be displayed if a few vocal proponents insisted we need to show support for these concepts: Confederate flag Communist flag Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox flag In fact the overwhelming majority of Riverside residents are heterosexual. What if they banded together and created a flag, then insisted it fly for the other 11 months of the year? Might it cause discomfort and ill will from the LGBT community? I imagine it would, and our community would be unnecessarily fragmented and impoverished if it happened. There are real financial costs and the costs of disharmony and division within our community of displaying any other flags.

Nilsa Sweetser from Riverside   

Posted: June 4th, 2019 9:15 PM

I absolutely loved biking through Riverside last year and showing my son how much love was exhibited in Riverside. Can't wait to take that ride again. We'll definitely swing through North Riverside to see Village Hall flying the rainbow flag. Hoping the Village of Riverside does the same, so I can show him his own Village government supports its diverse community.

Josie Polanek from North Riverside   

Posted: June 4th, 2019 7:45 PM

Yesterday, the North Riverside Village Board voted to approve displaying a rainbow flag for the month of June, much like other surrounding towns like Berwyn and Oak Park have done in past years. I'm so glad to know the board recognizes the importance of what this flag symbolizes to the LGBTQ community here in town. Many thanks to the NR Trustees and Mayor Hermanek!

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