The City of Nanaimo flag is flying next to the Pride flag outside Nanaimo City Hall this week. (News Bulletin photo)

Pride flag raised in Nanaimo

Mayor makes official Pride Week declaration as events getting underway

A rainbow flag, carrying a lot of meaning with it, was raised on the grounds of Nanaimo City Hall today.

The Pride flag went up after a ceremony Tuesday evening, marking the start of Pride Week in Nanaimo.

Alessandro Iachelli, Nanaimo Pride Society president, previewed the schedule of events for the week, which will culminate with a parade and festival downtown on Sunday. He said it’s been a 12-month effort to prepare for what will be larger-scale celebrations this year.

“The overwhelming amount of outpouring from people in the community has been just unbelievable and it’s personally touched me,” said Iachelli.

The flag-raising ceremony included speeches from dignitaries including Mayor Leonard Krog, MLAs Sheila Malcolmson and Doug Routley, as well as Ilan Goldenblatt, representing MP Paul Manly. More than one speaker referenced the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots led by transgender and drag activists, considered foundational in the LGBTQ rights movement.

Krog read out an official Pride Week declaration and suggested Nanaimo has come a long way.

“This community is a better town than it used to be. This community is more welcoming; this community is more accepting,” Krog said. “This community welcomes and accepts diversity and takes it to heart in a way that simply didn’t exist a while ago and I think that’s a really positive thing.”

story continues below

Malcolmson, Nanaimo MLA, gave examples of recent progress such as human rights advancements, sexual orientation and gender identity resources in schools, and improved access to HIV medication.

“Keep the pressure on us, keep us accessible; we stand with you in solidarity but we’re also taking action and we’re getting it done so that everybody can live a safe and dignified and respectful life equally,” she said.

The ceremony featured musical performances by the Aviva Chorus and rocker Tami Nutting and while the choir was singing, a passing motorist appeared to purposefully try to cause an interruption with engine noise.

“The ignorance that that guy showed with that truck and all of that, that isn’t the biggest threat to us – it’s complacency, amongst those people who would care and should care and should speak up and should do better…” Routley said. “You don’t have to understand. You just have to respect and allow people to be who they are and I think that’s what it’s all about.”

EDITORIAL: Pride Week keeps Nanaimo parading forward

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP say increase in cycling opens up potential for more bike thefts

Police advise cyclists register their bikes with 529 Garage

City of Nanaimo to look at turning NDSS field into mid-size stadium

Parks and rec will begin stakeholder engagement and begin work on a phased plan for improvements

Woman arrested near Nanaimo’s Westwood Lake after road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

Stock the Lockers drive for vulnerable students in Nanaimo begins

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation exec says students need support leading up to fall semester

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Pandemic isn’t a time for tax increases

City councillors are out of touch with the taxpayers, says letter writer

New ICBC data details Nanaimo intersections with the most crashes

Old Island Highway at Bowen Road and Norwell Drive saw the most crashes in 2019

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Most Read