In a historic event, Calexico became the first city in the Imperial Valley to host a flag-raising ceremony for the Progress Pride Flag at City Hall thus making a statement that the city is open and inclusive to all.
“The LGBTQ community has faced intense discrimination in the Imperial Valley over the years with little access to resources that can help mitigate that impact. This flag-raising is not a solution. It is a tribute to how far we have come and a commitment where we still have yet to go. Full equality and celebration of the true content of one’s character. May God Bless us as we fight inequality and injustice,” Mayor Raul Ureña said.
The Calexico City Council voted to declare the month of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. The council voted 4-1 to pass this resolution with Councilman Camilo Garcia abstaining.
The resolution states how LGBTQ individuals continue to suffer persistent inequalities in access to affirming healthcare, mental health resources, housing, and economic opportunities in our border region and continue to be targeted by hate and bigotry in the Imperial Valley and across borders.
Imperial County once voted to ban same-sex marriage under Proposition 8 with 69.7 percent of the vote Countywide.
“The City of Calexico now, in its electorate, values diversity and defends LGBTQ people; the struggle to achieve dignity and equal rights in Imperial County for the diversity of all LGBTQ people in the City of Calexico and our region has been harsh with many fallen angels along the way including Ms. Marylin Cazarez of Brawley. May she and all the local and international victims of hate and persecution find peaceful rest,” the resolution read.
One of the supporters of the flag-raising ceremony was State Senator Steve Padilla who gave a statement to the city council through his representative Mario Renteria at the June 7 meeting.
“The Pride flag serves as a visible reminder of the district’s dedication to promoting diversity and embracing differences. By flying the flag, we acknowledge the rich tapestry of identities and experiences that exist within our student body and the broader community,” Padilla stated. “This not only fosters a sense of belonging for LGBTQ+ individuals but also promotes a culture of understanding and empathy. It presents an opportunity to educate our communities about the importance of celebrating diversity, challenging stereotypes, and creating an inclusive society.”
la note that flying the pride flag is not a “political statement” but rather an affirmation of human rights and a celebration of the unique contributions that LGBTQ+ individuals bring to our society.
“It would send a message of support, love, and acceptance that can have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals within our community. Let us take this opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to diversity, equality, and the principles that underscore a truly inclusive educational system,” Padilla added.
The Progress Pride flag was developed in 2018 by non-binary American artist and designer Daniel Quasar. Based on the iconic rainbow flag from 1978, the redesign celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ community and calls for a more inclusive society.
The flag’s black and brown stripes represent marginalized LBGT communities of color, community members lost to HIV/AIDS, and those currently living with AIDS.
Many groups within the LGBTQIA2-S community have their own Pride flags. Specific flags are celebrating the identities of transgender, bisexual, lesbian, pansexual, asexual, and other communities. Still, the rainbow-striped flag has historically been the most used and recognized symbol representing Pride for the LGBTQIA2-S community overall.
Near the end of the ceremony, a woman confronted the Mayor screaming at him but was arrested by police and taken into custody. The woman has criticized the Mayor publicly in the past and was opposed to raising the LGBT flag raising. The video of her arrest became viral on the Beyond Borders Gazette Instagram and Facebook platforms.