Commentary: Taking Pride in city celebrations

Eric Blu and the Soul Review entertained from the stage during the Pride of Edmonds event at Civic Park June 23. (Photo by Joe Christian)

We’re Nick Falk, the deputy city clerk, and Todd Tatum, the community, culture and economic development director for the City of Edmonds. One a member of the LGBTQ+ community and the other an ally and proud parent of an LGBTQ+ child. We’re writing to address the recent articles in the local papers about the Pride flag at City Hall.

First, we want to say to the flag articles’ commenters – we understand your frustrations. A community that’s suffered such oppression, violence, disenfranchisement and marginalization is understandably wounded and wary. And we also want to share the full context of the city’s efforts this year.

These articles were published days after Pride in the Park, the anchor event in the city’s Pride festivities. Watching the reactions to the moving (and often hilarious) narratives of our three storytellers, and hearing comments from LGBTQ+ community members like “I’ve been on the verge of (happy) tears all day knowing that something like this event is happening in my city” was so encouraging.

Last year, Edmonds held a storytelling event at the Edmonds Historical Museum where the mayor spoke, flags flew, and about 250 people showed up to rally in the sun. Excited by that energy, the city and several community groups immediately began planning for 2024. What followed were dozens of meetings at city hall with community groups, partners, vendors, drag performers, elected officials, and staff. Pride 2024 has been challenging to organize, particularly given the city’s current financial challenges. But the strong partnership of the city and local LGBTQ+ community organizations made it possible.

At edmondspride.org, you’ll see the unprecedented range of Pride events throughout June. Many are the result of the direct efforts of passionate community organizations. But it’s important to know that the city itself has hosted planning events, written for grants, campaigned for sponsorships, and, when in-kind donations are taken into account, brought in nearly $30,000 to support the events. City staff have created contracts for the events, managed vendors and conducted the detailed planning for the June 22 event — not to mention the efforts involved in June 7th’s free movie night at Edmonds Center for the Arts where Mayor Rosen gave opening remarks for the month. Because showing up for this community means so much to us, city staff have also donated our own time and money when we thought it would make a difference. We’ve also ensured that next year’s event has seed money so planning isn’t curtailed regardless of the city’s financial situation.

We hope that many of you attended the event at Civic Park, and found it fun, affirming and meaningful. On July 1st, when the Pride flags come down from all of the public property the city placed them on in our beautiful downtown, we’ll already be starting our work for next year. As always, you are warmly invited to participate, share your thoughts and concerns, and be part of the very earnest group of city staff and community members who’ve worked so hard to make the largest celebration of Pride in the city’s history happen. Let’s make next year’s even better— together.

— By Nick Falk and Todd Tatum
City of Edmonds

 

  1. You guys (and Megan Luttrell and others who also worked hard on this) are awesome. As were the events, which I was proud to be a part of.
    As I commented on the other post last night, there’s a disconnect between the city’s support for and hard work on Pride events and the reasons given to the press as to why no flag was flown. The disconnect is not attributable to staff, IMO. And there are conversations to be had about the disconnect. But it doesn’t take away from the work of staff (and volunteers too). I do not always agree with decisions made by the City (meaning, mostly, decisions by electeds), but I have had consistently positive interactions with staff, in many departments. In particular, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have always felt respected and affirmed by staff I’ve worked with.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Nick and Todd, for letting us know that even though the pride flag was not initially flown this year, it was not a step backward. Thank you for sharing your inside view and letting us know that our city is committed to making each year’s Pride events the best yet. Makes me proud to live in Edmonds!

  2. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and great leadership in the planning of Edmonds’ full month of Pride events. It has been a delight, as a representative of PFLAG, to help in the planning and to participate in so many of the events this month. I have been bragging about Edmonds and its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community in our city ever since last year’s event on the steps of the Historical Museum. Thank you to everyone who worked so long and hard to make these events a success! And thank you to the city for reinstating the Pride flag outside City Hall!

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