Members of the United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA), Kent Youth and Family Services staff and Kent City Councilmembers Satwinder Kaur and Marli Larimer raised the Pride flag at Kent City Hall.
The flag went up June 1 to kick off Pride Month in the city.
Kent-based UTOPIA Washington is a queer and trans people of color-led, grassroots organization born out of the struggles, challenges, strength and resilience of the Queer and Trans Pacific Islander (QTPI – “Q-T-pie”) community in South King County, according to its website.
UTOPIA has worked to build power and help community members access resources, employment, stable housing, higher education, culturally competent health care and more.
Kent Youth Family Services and its youth program provides a safe space for Kent LGTBQ+ youth to be themselves.
“I love Kent for reasons like this,” according to one comment on the city’s Facebook post about the flag raising.
Kent Mayor Dana Ralph will proclaim June as Pride Month at the June 6 City Council meeting.
June is designated Pride Month to honor the Stonewall Riots, and is generally recognized as the catalyst of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, according to the proclamation.
The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous protests by members of the gay community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City.
“LGBTQ+ residents, students, city employees and business owners with the city of Kent contribute to the enrichment of the city,” according to the proclamation. “Washington state and King County have led the nation in protecting the civil rights of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer neighbors, coworkers, friends and family members as well as provide allyship.
“The city of Kent, in partnership and communication with residents, businesses and schools is dedicated to building an inclusive city with opportunities for all. LGBTQ+ residents contribute to the cultural fabric of our community and donate their time, talent, labor and financial resources to various community organization.”
Ralph will proclaim Pride Month and invite “everyone to reflect on ways we can all live and work together with a commitment to mutual respect and understanding and to join us in this special observance and recognize the numerous contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals in the city.”