A dedication was held Friday for the Progress Pride Flag which has been painted on Isham Road in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square.
By Ronni Newton
A permanent statement in support of West Hartford’s commitment to LGBTQ Pride was dedicated at noon Friday.
More than just a rainbow crosswalk, the Quasar Progress Pride Flag has been painted in the center of the bricked section of Isham Road, directly in front of the gazebo, between Barnes and Noble and the Cheesecake Factory.
The Quasar Progress Pride Flag, designed by Daniel Quasar, incorporates the stripes of the Pride Flag with a chevron that includes brown and black stripes to represent communities of color, as well as pink, light blue, and white – which are the traditional colors of the Transgender Pride Flag.
West Hartford artist Brian Colbath was chosen for the project by the West Hartford Art League, and with assistance from his daughter Gillian painted the flag last Saturday morning. West Hartford Community Interactive created the video below of the painting in progress.
Barry Walters, co-chair of the West Hartford Human Rights Commission and a member of the West Hartford Pride Planning Committee, welcomed the crowd, which included several elected officials, on the eve of what should have been the town’s first Pride Festival right in that very location.
The event is now scheduled to be held on June 26, 2021.
“Behold our flag,” Walters said, thanking everyone who participated in making the project, which was first proposed a few years ago, a reality.
Mayor Shari Cantor credited Walters with having the leadership, energy, and perseverance to bring the process to fruition.
“I am so proud of this community, I am so proud of our town staff who was incredibly responsive to finding this spot,” Cantor said, noting the contributions of Public Relations Specialist Renee McCue, Director of Public Works John Phillips, Town Manager Matt Hart, and the Town Council for its “steadfast commitment to justice and rights for everyone in the community.”
She also re-read the proclamation she presented to Walters two weeks ago, when the Pride Flag was raised on Goodman Green, declaring June 2020 as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month,” and calling on the community to eliminate prejudice and to celebrate its diversity.
McCue, standing in for Town Manager Matt Hart, thanked Walters and Cantor on behalf of town staff, and added thanks to Robyn Rifkin, general manager of Blue Back Square, for support of the location of the painted flag. Pride flag banners now also adorn the light posts throughout Blue Back Square.
“I am so proud that it is this flag,” said Rev. Dr. Adam Robersmith from the Universalist Church of West Hartford. “A flag that says ‘we are all, all of us, in every way welcome in this space’ is profoundly important.” It symbolizes that this is an all-inclusive space.
“We make more room every time we see this and say ‘yes,'” he said.
Adrienne Billings-Smith recently named to the West Hartford Human Rights Commission, said she asked her family what this flag meant to them. “Unity, all in this fight together, the feeling of inclusivity” were the answers she received.
“This flag is particularly important because it finally recognizes that Black lives matter, that trans Black lives matter,” Billings-Smith said.
“I am in awe of my queer community and I am in awe of this West Hartford community for coming together to do something that’s so important to all of us. Somehow we managed to make the flag that’s all about inclusivity more inclusive, and that just in itself is great.”
Walters said he was moved to tears when he first saw the flag last week, when he saw people taking photos of it. “This is for all of us, this is for our community. This is for the queer community but it’s also for all of us.”
For more information about West Hartford Pride, visit WestHartfordPride.org.
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