MANCHESTER, NH – Pride weekend kicked off as a large crowd gathered in front of City Hall for the raising of a Pride flag. On hand were Representative Chris Pappas, Mayor Joyce Craig, Aldermen Will Stewart, Pat Long, and June Trisciani, LGBTQ+ organizers, as well as students from West High School. Rainbow-colored pride flags were given out by West teacher Richella Simard, who helped organize the event.
Also on hand was Planning Board Chair Bryce Kaw-uh.
“I think it’s all about visibility and also a celebration of how far we’ve come,” Kaw-uh said. “We also have plenty more to do, as anyone who’s familiar with the struggles of the queer community knows there’s still a lot going on that we have to fix. I think this flag raising is a recognition of all of that together.”
Before raising the flag, Simard made a few remarks regarding this year’s Manchester Pridefest, which will take place Saturday, June 17 in Veterans Park.
“Believe it or not, a few years ago there was no flag that got raised for Pride month at City Hall. This is an important reminder of how leadership makes a difference for the city. And this is about bringing people together,” Pappas said.
“It’s wonderful to be here and celebrate and lift up the LGBTQ community,” Craig said. “You mean the world to us, and we want you to know that. The city of Manchester supports you, and we love you. I encourage all residents to remember that love is love, to celebrate our diversity in the Queen City, and to recognize and fight for the rights of people for all genders and sexual orientations this month and every month of the year.”
“This flag and events like this help demonstrate that Manchester is a welcoming place,” Pappas said. “It’s okay to be you. We need people to be themselves. We are stronger because of it. Pride is an important time to remember that we’ve got more work to do. But it’s also a celebration- a celebration of who we are, of the diversity that makes us stronger. I am grateful for Mayor Craig’s leadership to bring this event right here to City Hall.”
When the speeches finished, West High students raised the pride flag to resounding applause.