Pride flag raised at Nanaimo City Hall

A flag-raising ceremony was held Wednesday evening as part of pride week

The pride flag is now flying overtop of everything that’s planned for pride week in Nanaimo.

A ceremony was held Wednesday evening outside Nanaimo City Hall, with speeches, entertainment, an official pride week proclamation and the raising of the flag.

“Thank you everybody, for the progress that you have made and the work that you do to educate people in our society and our city,” said Ian Thorpe, acting mayor. “Our culture is evolving and it’s a slow process sometimes, but we are getting there and I think this turnout today is an indicator of that.”

The ceremony included songs by Patrick Aleck, the Aviva Chorus and Tami Nutting, poems by Nanaimo poet laureate Tina Biello and speeches by Thorpe as well as Nanaimo Pride Society president Lauren Semple and MLAs Michelle Stilwell and Leonard Krog. Raymond Salgado sang the national anthem as Fred Pattje and Jesse Staub raised the pride flag.

Afterward, Semple gave her take on the flag’s symbolism, saying it represents diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.

“We are woven together in bright panels, each representing the diverse communities which exist under our umbrella. These panels of brilliant colour are woven together once more, joined at the seams by our collective fight for equality, joined by our shared experiences and struggles. But most importantly, they’re joined by the strength of our individual strands,” she said.

“A beautiful rainbow flag, all of us together, waving as one in the name of love. And with that, with great love and appreciation in my heart for all of you, I say thank you for being you, thank you for being brave, thank you for being a part of our big, beautiful community. The world is a better place because you are living as your authentic self within it.”

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Pride week began Tuesday and continues until Saturday, June 9, finishing with the Nanaimo Pride Parade and Festival. The parade is at noon, with activities at Maffeo Sutton Park all afternoon.

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