Last Saturday, East Boston residents along with local officials celebrated the 7th annual LGBTQ Pride Flag raising at Piers Park in a unique way.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to gather in groups larger than 10 people, the organizers of the annual event decided to hold a virtual flag raising.
While organizers like Celeste Hewitt and Josue Espinoza joined Rep. Adrian Madaro, City Councilor Lydia Edwards and Massport’s Kenn Turner at Piers Park to hoist the flag, the entire event was broadcast through ZOOM.
The boracast included not only the ceremonial flag raising but prerecorded video tributes by Mayor Walsh and Sen. Joseph Boncore to Eastie’s LGBTQ community.
“We identified the need for this seven years ago as a way to say to the world what we stand for in East Boston,” said Hewitt. “Our goal and mission is to be here and offer comfort and support for our friends and family in the LGBTQ community.”
Councilor Edwards said she was honored to again take part in the celebration, especially with a nationwide movement calling for more racial justice in the country.
“We have built upon each other and built each other up,” said Edwards of the cross collaboration between LGBTQ and African American activism over the years. “In this time of healing we have for racial issues so much of dignity and so much of our rights are interconnected.”
Espinoza said this time of year is something that he and the LGBT community looks forward to but he wasn’t in a mood to celebrate.
Espinoza mentioned several African-American gay or transgender people that have been murdered in the U.S. this year.
“I don’t feel like celebrating because we have work to do in this community,” said Espinoza. “We can’t simply exist in this community and not want to fight for every single person in this LGBTQ community. I charge you all watching to fight, to speak out, to act and to influence change. If we don’t do it together it won’t happen.”
The event included a video montage where Madaro, Boncore and Walsh also wished Eastie’s gay community a happy Pride Month.
The flag raising and display in Piers Park, aligned with Boston’s Pride Week, provides an opportunity for East Boston’s LGBTQ community, family friends and allies to celebrate LGBTQ Pride in their hometown.
“During these difficult times we felt it was especially important to pause, recognize and celebrate the Authority’s LGBTQ employees,” said Turner. “Throughout the month of June the rainbow flag will fly at Piers Park, Logan International Airport, Worcester Regional Airport, Hanscom Field, our other maritime assets and the Logan Office Center as our way of expressing our support for our LBGTQ colleagues, partners, and customers as we collectively continue our journey towards dignity and respect.”