The Rainbow flag, a symbol of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer pride, will fly over Wilde Memorial Park in Glen Rock for the month of June in recognition and celebration of Gay Pride Month after the Glen Rock Borough Council voted unanimously at its May 8 meeting to display the flag.
The council had been approached by the Community Relations Board of Ridgewood and Glen Rock and asked to fly the flag on the Borough Hall flagpole, but a week ago, the Ridgewood Village Council voted against flying the flag in the Village. The Glen Rock council decided the opposite, though Mayor Bruce Packer suggested that because the Borough Hall flagpole has the POW/MIA flag on it, in addition to the American Flag, it would not be practical to fly the Rainbow flag at Borough Hall. So he suggested Wilde Park as an alternative.
“The Borough Flag pole has the American flag and the POW flag,” Packer said. “This flag has been flying there for a long time. Per Federal law, the POW flag can be flown around Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. If we do the Borough Hall flagpole [for the Rainbow flag] we would then remove the POW flag a few days after Memorial Day.
As you know, we have created a precedent by flying [the POW/MIA flag] all the time. Because of this, I suggest, if voted on, we fly it at Wilde Memorial Park due to the viability and being centrally located in town.”
The council accepted that suggestion and voted to fly the Rainbow flag at Wilde Park. Councilman Art Pazan had a statement as he cast his vote:
“A few weeks ago, the Community Relations Board of Ridgewood and Glen Rock approached this Mayor and Council to request flying the Pride flag at Borough Hall flagpole. We needed time to think and weigh options and find ways to embrace opportunity to tolerance amongst our neighbors.
“I was horrified to hear that Ridgewood rejected the request to fly the Pride flag in their community.
“Shame on you, Mayor and Village Council of Ridgewood for your fear of lawsuits and legal actions. This was your opportunity to stand up for tolerance and equality
“After the tragic suicide of a Ridgewood resident, Tyler Clemente, it brought out that the LBGTQ community was not accepted and needed community support. While we all know of residents, friends, and family members that are part of a culture that at times seems different than mainstream society, they deserve respect and thoughtful actions that provide caring and sensitivity
“I want Glen Rock to be a community that is known as welcoming residents and visitors that are accepted for who they are not to be judged by religion, race, gender, or sexual preference, so I vote to fly the Pride flag in front of Borough Hall during the month of June and hope and pray that our world works together for peace and harmony among people.”
Councilwoman Amy Martin added, “I am very proud that we are standing tall and embracing principles that include equality and diversity and acceptance. Our little town will lead by example.”
Following the vote, Packer said, “Our council showed that we are unified in our desire to recognize, embrace, and advocate for all of our residents. We are further willing to share in the pride of those that some ignorantly perceive to be simply ‘different.’ All Glen Rockers should be proud of who they are, know that your Borough shares that pride, and be proud to be Glen Rockers.”
While the flag is flying in June, there will be fifth and sixth grade baseball recreational and travel games being played at the park, and the Family Fun Fair also comes to the park at the end of the month.
The Rainbow flag, commonly known as the Gay Pride flag or LGBT Pride flag, has been a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements since 1978.
Mayor Bruce Packer, posted this on his Facebook Page: “You are all invited to join us for the raising of the Rainbow Flag at Wilde Memorial Park in Glen Rock on June 1st at noon. The flag will remain in place for the entirety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in June.”