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City Council approved flying nine commemorative flags at City Hall

Opponents say additional flags would divide, proponents say it celebrates diversity

After significant debate, City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday, May 2, to approve flying nine commemorative flags at City Hall.

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Day (the third Monday in January)
  • International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27)
  • Black History Month (February)
  • Women’s History Month or Women’s Suffrage Victory (March)
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May)
  • LGBTQ Pride Month (June)
  • Juneteenth (June 19)
  • Latino/a Heritage Month
  • Indigenous Peoples Day (October) or Native American Heritage Month (November)
Voting Yes Voting No
Erin Edwards Chuck Conder
Clarissa Cervantes Jim Perry
Ronaldo Fierro
Gaby Placencia
Steve Hemenway

“In my 40 plus years of public service I have seen a lot, and during that course it has always seemed that neutrality always worked best,” said Ward 6 Councilmember Jim Perry.

Ward 1 Councilmember Erin Edwards said, “Symbols are one step. They aren’t the first step, they won’t be the last step to making people in our city feel safe, but they are an imprtant one. I am excited to support this item.”

Riversiders spoke with significant passion both for and against flying new commemorative flags.

“I am here standing vehemently in opposition to any changes to our flag policy,” said Mercedes DeLeon, “these commemorative flags are not all-inclusive. Can we say that we are all Californians? I think so. Can I say that we are all Riverside City constituents? I believe so. Are we all gay? I don’t think so.” DeLeon encouraged Riversiders to fly commemorative flags on their private homes or vehicles. “I know that the flags we have now unite us all.”

“The LGBTQ+ flag is a symbol of equity, said Ana DeAgustine, a local high school teacher, “it is my earnest hope that the City of Riverside would demonstrate inclusiveness.”

“I cannot scream any louder on how wasteful this is on our time and money. The City has many more important things to address,” said Stacy Ritter, “Council complains they don’t have enough time or staff, but yet will happily spend their time picking a flag? We should be using this time, and energy, and resources to battle homelessness and crime.”

Kayla Booker, CEO of The Black Collective, said, “I have hosted the Juneteenth festival in Riverside fo rthe past two years... I want to support this and pass this because I believe this country was built on different cultures... I hope that you guys all see the beauty in this item.”

There are no official flags for Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Women’s History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Latino/a Heritage Month, Indigenous Peoples Day, or Native American Heritage Month. The Human Relations Commission report suggested a community art project to design flags for those dates.