Local activist who run the Pride House in Solvang, successfully beat back efforts to ban rainbow crosswalks in their town. One brilliant tactic these activists used was employing California’s ‘sunshine laws’. (Freedom Of Information Act).
Because the town board members are government employees they were forced to make public all of their emails and text messages relating to the “rainbow flag“. This research exposed the truth. Right wing board members were trying to ban the rainbow flag for bigoted reasons, even though they publicly tried to make the issue about the “appearance” of the town and the “confusion” of having too many public symbols.
In May, the Town Council of Huntington Beach, voted to ban the display of the rainbow flag on public property. This included the pier on the Pacific Ocean, which has traditionally been decorated with rainbow flags during pride month in June. A local advertising company, INNOCEAN, decided to fight back. They created an amazing Instagram filter that allows you to virtually plant a waving rainbow flag in front of any building, park or school and make a video of it, post on Instagram and link it to our save the rainbow flag Campaign. (link)
Working with city Council member, Chris Caputo, in Wilton Manors, Florida, we helped local activists organize a huge rally to protest banning of the rainbow flag and laws against drag performers. Using our ACLU legal letter, the town’s lawyers were able to challenge state law HB 1011 – a statewide ban of the rainbow flag – and successfully pushback until the legislation was withdrawn.
Morgantown, West Virginia
About 200 hundred students participated in the walkout Wednesday afternoon. It comes after the school district removed pride flags from Mon County Schools.
The move has caused a firestorm of controversy, including a protest at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.
In a school board meeting last week, more than a dozen residents spoke in favor of displaying the flags in schools. Board members are expected to discuss the policy again at next week’s meeting.“Queer community members and allies are encouraged to attend!” Morgantown Pride said.
Yamhill County Oregon
“A county judge in Oregon ruled a school district’s ban on LGBT Pride and Black Lives Matter flags unconstitutional.
In December of 2021, the ACLU of Oregon challenged the school district’s policy on behalf of employee Chelsea Shots, who raised a rainbow flag in a classroom window at Dundee Elementary with hearts and a picture depicting the words “Be Known”. Signed. Shots, a teacher who identifies as queer, said the sign was meant to designate a safe place for students. Nevertheless, it sparked a complaint that eventually led to the school board’s decision to remove all LGBT and Black Lives Matter signs and symbols.”
Smithtown, New York
“Candidates backed by an LGBT advocacy group working with Smithtown families won election to the Smithtown Library Board.
LGBT Network president David Kilmnick told Newsday last week that he had worked with about 100 Smithtown families to organize support for their candidates because they believed they would let library patrons “choose what they want to read and think for themselves
what they want to read and think for themselves.”
Redondo Beach. CA
In contrast to the rise of flag bans in the last year, the City Council of Redondo Beach, California, voted for the first time to fly a Rainbow Flag at City Hall during Pride Month. City leaders defended the ruling as a demonstration of inclusivity. The flag will cost $100 and will fly the entire month of June, 2023. (Daily Breeze, March 21)
Sparta, New Jersey
Responding to a request from local residents fighting an initiative to ban the rainbow flag, the Gilbert Baker Foundation helped organize local activists into a large chat group where they shared strategies and information. They were able to successfully devise a new strategy. They introduced a counter-initiative that created a “cultural committee” that would decide which flags can fly on city property and which cannot. This was a brilliant tactic that people are repeating in other communities around the country where right wing bigots try to cloud the issue by comparing the rainbow flag to the confederate flag. Creating a separate committee is a great tactic to fight “Flag fatigue” when our opponents try to cloud the issue by claiming there are just “too many flags”.
Anne Arundel, Maryland
Responding to a request from a local teacher who was troubled by the school board trying to ban the rainbow flag in classrooms, the Gilbert Baker Foundation responded with support and our tool kit. This information was passed on to the local teachers union who took the lead and managed to prevent the passage of the rainbow flag in their town
After the local town council banned the rainbow flag on public flag poles for “religious reasons“, local activists organized and pushed back and were able to garner an enormous amount of positive press in local and national news organizations. They recently engaged a prominent civil rights lawyer, who has filed the first ever lawsuit in federal court trying to overturn the ban on the rainbow flag. Standby for news on this.
Connetquot, New York
Connetquot residents collect over 1,000 signatures to push for reversal of school’s Pride flag ban.
About a dozen people gathered outside the district offices with boxes full of signatures from Connetquot residents and from allies in surrounding communities, who are demanding the district allow the Progress Pride flag to be displayed.
“We won’t stop. Why? 1 in 4 LGBTQ Long Islanders have seriously considered suicide. The rates are higher for Black, Asian and low income families … We as a community know how a ban like this, relating to historically marginalized groups, has the potential to wreak havoc on the mental health of the victims, in this case, students,” says Sarah Smith, of Connetquot.
High school students in Los Angeles take part in a rally on April 22 to support LGBTQ people as districts elsewhere in the nation see pride flag bans and other crackdowns.
A high school in Stoughton, Massachusetts was the site of a protest Tuesday night over the school’s ban on what it calls “political” flags and posters in classrooms.
The action was organized by Stoughton High School senior Olivia Tran, who was suspended last week for leading a student demonstration against the policy during class hours. Tran draped a large Pride flag outside the school’s administration office in that protest and the group refused to return to class.
“In 2021, a newly elected conservative board majority banned school employees from displaying Black Lives Matter and gay pride symbols, then expanded the ban to all political or “controversial” signs after being advised the first rule wouldn’t survive a legal challenge.
The Newberg City Council and multiple Democratic members of the Oregon House and Senate all condemned the school board’s action.
The Newberg School Board voted unanimously on Jan. 10 to rescind the controversial policy, a month after the Newberg Education Association announced it had settled its federal civil rights lawsuit over the matter.
“The policy will not be amended or changed, it is gone,” says Superintendent Stephen Phillips to Oregon Public Broadcasting.