Letter: It was never just flags
Once again, we find ourselves in another conversation, another Town Council meeting, another battle for the symbol of our richly diverse community … the Pride flag. And while we could continue to argue the merits of the flag, the power of its message, and the need for LGBTQ+ visibility in our community, we want to choose to celebrate our partners and allies at the town of Avon as an example of active allyship.
From the initial days, the town of Avon has been home to our single largest annual event Pride in the Park. But beyond hosting the event, the staff and elected officials go the extra mile. A few examples come to mind:
In addition to their generous in-kind support, the town of Avon provides for Pride in the Park, it also provides essential grant funding to support Mountain Pride events, efforts, and education held in the town of Avon year proud. Financial support of LGBTQ+ and other marginalized groups is an impactful way to invest in these communities and real change.
Acknowledging the historic relationship and national statistics surrounding the LGBTQ+ community and the police, the Avon Police Department under the leadership of Chief Greg Daly has undergone specific training on LGBTQ+ Cultural Fluency and continues to donate time to keep our pride celebration safe. Ensuring that instances of anti-LGBT violence and discrimination do not continue to repeat themselves requires us to turn to one of our oldest tools: education. We invite anyone wanting to learn more to attend an education event, join our book club, or request a specific training.
We’d be remiss not to address some particular individuals who continue to go above and beyond with unwavering support and dedication: Mayor Amy Cramer Phillips, Town Council member Lindsay Hardy, and Danita Dempsey and Chelsea Van Winkle with the town’s event staff. We see the greatest community change and impact when passionate individuals do intentional work, especially when it’s not easy.
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What can we all learn from this? Local elections and government are critical to fostering rich diversity in our communities. We each can be inspired by their actions to financially invest, educate ourselves, and commit to advocating for diversity and authenticity, allowing all, especially those who have been marginalized, to thrive.
Thank you, town of Avon, for creating a space of visibility during pride month and for being a great example for other towns to follow. If you are just getting started on your allyship journey, we personally invite you to join us on Saturday, June 3, from 12-8 p.m. at Nottingham Lake Park where thanks to support from the town of Avon and many other local amazing businesses, we will be proudly waving pride flags while celebrating diversity, inclusion, and allyship in our community.
Executive Director, Mountain Pride