LGBTQ+ community members and supporters gathered at different locations around Rye on Thursday afternoon for the third consecutive year of Pride flag raisings to mark the start of Pride Month this June. Senior leaders Odessa Meulbroek and Jos White as well as other members of Rye High School’s GSA club handed out Pride pins and stickers designed by club members to show their spirit. GSA leaders Cassie Brook and Eva Cerda were unable to attend. The group announced next year’s GSA leaders will be Shannon Haines and Haley Kloepfer.
After the 3:00 pm flag raising the group moved their second location at the Village Green for the second raising above the entrance of the City Hall, where Mayor Cohn gave a message to the crowd, “We want to communicate that Rye is a safe zone for all and that Rye honors and respects its LGBTQ+ community.”
In addition to the Mayor, a few local politicians including Carolina Johnson, Lori Fontanes, Josh Nathan, and council candidate Jamie Jensen made an appearance at various points of the afternoon to show their LGBTQ+ community support as well. Fontanes, Nathan and Jensen form the Democratic ticket for the upcoming election for the Rye City Council.
The crew then headed over to their last stop of the day for the flag-raising at the Rye Rec, where GSA’s senior leader Odessa Meulbroek said a few words of inspiration, urging the community to keep the tradition going, “As I am leaving Rye, keep on flagging!” Her words set the tone for the coming years in Rye as the organization plans to continue its Pride festivities as a yearly tradition in the town.
The celebrations will continue on Saturday, June 10th at Rye Town Park, a day with many activities planned, beginning with the Rye Town Park Pride Flag raising at 9:30 am, hosted by Supervisor Gary Zuckerman, along with Town Council Member Pamela Jaffee and pRYEde’s Amanda Timchak as well as other community leaders, local students, activists, and residents.
The group will then set off across the boardwalk for a musical parade, ending in a grand reveal of the Third Annual Student-Led Community Pride Mural. The painting is an original piece designed and painted by students from across New York and Connecticut under the guidance of pRYEde and local mural artist and art teacher Donna Wundeler. The mural celebrates LGBTQ+ identities and shares a positive message of inclusion meant to inspire the community.
The final event, the Pride Fair will take place at the Rye Town Park pavilions, and feature performances by various artists along with stations led by local organizations including: The LOFT, PrideWorks, GLSEN Hudson Valley, Rye Arts Center, Rye Youth Council, RyeACT, POW’R Against Tobacco, The Rye Free Reading Room, and local GSA groups.
Watch videos from the Pride flag raisings: