Ferndale is Michigan’s first city to display the rainbow flag in city council chambers!
On Monday, October 23, Ferndale “became one of the first government municipalities in the country to officially and permanently install the LGBT Pride flag in City Council chambers.” And that’s a beautiful thing. Ferndale is Michigan’s fourth most LGBTQ-friendly city in Michigan and is setting a precedent for the rest of the state.
The flag is a symbol for something bigger and united, and likewise, hanging the flag is a symbol of solidarity and togetherness.
Some might say a flag is a small step, and maybe it is, but to have an official governing body display this flag and recognize its meaning is incredibly powerful, and says so much about Ferndale’s values,” said Stephanie White, Executive Director of Michigan Equality.
Some of “Ferndale’s values” are included in the progressive city’s motto, which is “Good Neighbors.” Well, Ferndale is demonstrating some neighborly sentiments with this historic move.
The event corresponded with a ceremony thanking those who have done their part to build Ferndale’s LGBTQ-infused history and progress. The people honored were:
- Jan Stephenson, the first Affirmations Executive Director
- Susan Erspamer, current Affirmations Executive Director
- Michael Lary, coordinator of Pride Fest
- Julia Music, creator of Ferndale’s current Ferndale Pride event
- Ann Heler, founder of FANS (Friends and Neighbors) of Ferndale and current Board President of both FernCare and the Ferndale Housing Commission
- City Councilman Greg Pawlica, Craig Covey, and Monica Mills–helped to create Ferndale Pride
- Stephanie White, Executive Director of Michigan Equality.
Thank you for your tireless work towards pride and equality! Ferndale wouldn’t be the same without you, and your efforts reach further than you even know.
The rainbow flag “will now hang in Ferndale City Hall Council Chambers alongside flags of the United States, the State of Michigan, Oakland County, the City of Ferndale and POW-MIAs.” The successful initiative to hang the rainbow flag was led by Mayor Dave Coulter and City Council.
Of course, the road to equality has not been all rainbows and butterflies. “Our movement is stronger and more united than ever, and we stand in resistance to the unprecedented attacks on all our communities,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute. Hopefully, actions like this will create a future where these attacks, in Ferndale and beyond, are only seen in history books.
Regardless, these heroes have helped bring Ferndale and Michigan closer than ever. The mayor of Ferndale agrees. “A critical part of Ferndale’s revitalization, and its continued success going forward, is owed to these pioneers and the lessons they taught in embracing of the equality of all races, ages, identities, nationalities and orientations in our city,” said Mayor Dave Coulter.
Coulter added, “The rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple–representing life, healing, sunlight, nature, art, and spirit–stand as vibrant symbols of hope for the entire community.”
So, let’s allow this hope bring us into another way of thinking and a brighter future. We still have a lot of work to do, but remaining hopeful is paramount.