WESTFIELD – After a special meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission on May 24 which ceded the decision to fly a Progress Pride flag on Park Square Green in June to Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr., At-large Councilor Kristen brought the new request to the mayor on behalf of the Westfield Pride Alliance.
The Progress Pride flag, which adds arrow-shaped stripes to show support for people of color and LGBTQ people of color in the community, will now fly at both City Hall and on Park Square Green from June 1-8, in honor of Pride Month.
“As mayor I approved the request filed by Councilor Mello on behalf of the Westfield Pride Committee. Last year I approved their request to hold an event and fly the Pride flag on City Hall plaza,” Humason said.
“My thanks go out to all the people who helped make this happen: Mayor Humason and his staff, [Parks and Recreation Chair Michael] Tirrell, the Parks and Recreation Commissioners and staff, members of Westfield Pride Alliance, and special thanks to everyone who spoke up and/or wrote letters in support of this community request,” Mello said.
The 2nd Annual Progress Pride Flag Raising at City Hall is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1. All are welcome to attend. All attendees are asked to respect each other’s masking or physical distancing needs. There will be no formal ceremonies for the flag raising or lowering on the Green.
“We are thrilled to be able to show the Pride Progress flag to our community members that identify as LGBTQIA+. This is a great step forward for Westfield,” said Westfield Pride Alliance member Kathi Bradford.
One of the outcomes of the request is that a new flag flying ordinance will be developed for the city, which currently doesn’t have one. Humason said he was surprised that a city over 352 years old did not have a flag policy that covered requests regarding flying flags on city properties and in parks.
“But we are now looking to put a policy in place and have the law department, city council, and my office involved in coming up with an equitable, appropriate, and consistent flag policy that is comprehensible to everyone,” the mayor said.
“I thank the Park and Rec Commission and Councilor Mello for moving this policy discussion forward. I am optimistic we will have an official flag policy in place as soon as possible,” Humason added.
Speaking of flags, Humason said he will hold his annual Flag Day standout on June 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the park between the two bridges by the clock tower. “The public is welcome. People are encouraged to bring their US flag and join me as we wave to passing traffic and celebrate America,” he said.
People may drop off their U.S. flags that need to be retired because they are beyond service. Humason said he will collect them that day and get them to a local Veterans group for appropriate retirement.