The full text of the introduction to today's raising of the Pride flag on the community flagpole at the Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound. Thank you to Maryann Thomas on behalf of Grey Bruce Pride.

"On behalf of Grey Bruce Pride, welcome everyone and thank you for being here. I would like to acknowledge that we are on Anishinaabe traditional territory.

Twenty-five years ago, kd lang had to cancel a concert right here at the Bayshore because of local demonstrations and backlash. And we all know that was about more than the beef. Twelve years ago, demonstrators interrupted the Pride flag raising at Owen Sound City Hall, which resulted in council's decision to cancel community flags there. Two years ago, a suggestion to change flag policy was presented at council and a motion by Councillor Thomas to send the request for staff review could not even get a seconder. Last year, the Owen Sound Police Services showed leadership by agreeing to fly the Pride flag at their building. This year, miraculously, the flag policy has been changed and a community flagpole will be part of the reconstruction at city hall. In the interim, this flagpole at the Bayshore has been designated the community flag pole and our request to fly the Pride flag was approved. So here we are.

What's in a flag? It's just a piece of cloth. But this piece of cloth symbolizes the mixed LGBTQ+ community. The colours, in the order of a natural rainbow, starting with red at the top, represent life, healing, sunlight, nature, harmony and spirit. Flying this particular flag indicates support for the inclusiveness and diversity that is a cornerstone of what we all believe in. We would like to thank the individuals, families, schools, government offices and businesses throughout Grey and Bruce who are flying the Pride flag today. We would like to thank the Owen Sound Police Services for flying the Pride flag last year. And we would like to thank City Council for changing their policy to allow this flag to fly here today.

Just so you know, Larry Miller and Bill Walker were invited to attend today's event, but had other commitments. I would like to introduce the Mayor of Owen Sound who brings greetings from the City.

I look forward to seeing you all this time next year at the new community flagpole at City Hall. And now, let's raise the Pride flag!"





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