Rainbow Pride flag flies over St. Petersburg City Hall

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg – Mayor Rick Kriseman made history again June 26, when he held a short but meaningful ceremony to recognize the LGBT community of his city and the annual St. Pete Pride celebration. At 9 a.m., Kriseman raised a rainbow pride flag to fly above City Hall through Pride weekend.

“I am proud to do something here today that hasn’t been done at City Hall in the past,” Kriseman said to a crowd of about 50. “As we like to say, the sun shines here and in particular on the opportunities that exist in this community for everyone. That’s what I believe makes this community so special.”
Kriseman is the first sitting mayor of St. Petersburg to officially embrace St. Pete Pride and the LGBT community. Earlier in June, he read two proclamations—one recognizing St. Pete Pride and the other expressing his strong support for marriage equality.

He was joined at the flag pole June 26 by City Council member and St. Pete Pride grand marshal Darden Rice, deputy mayor Kanika Tomalin, LGBT liaison to the mayor’s office Robert Danielson and LGBT police liaison Lt. Marcus Hughes.

The two liaison positions are new to the City of St. Petersburg, and Kriseman announced those roles earlier in the month.

“It’s important to note these positions weren’t just created as namesakes,” Kriseman said before raising the pride flag. “They have an important role to play here in the city. We want to make sure everyone in the city feels welcome, everyone in the city feels included. We are a city of diversity, of inclusion and a city of tolerance. Everyone is welcome.”

Kriseman noted the obvious absence of the rest of the City Council and said that City Council is on vacation.
“I know the other City Council members would have liked to be here,” he said. “If they weren’t [on vacation], I know they’d want to be here and I know they would be here.”

Every major news outlet covered the flag raising and Kriseman took the opportunity to invite the residents of St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay to join in the St. Pete Pride festivities, which run June 27- June 29.

“It’s a great weekend ahead,” Kriseman said. “Saturday night, please come out and take part in the parade. And on Sunday, come out and enjoy the street festival. It’s another example of why this is such a great city to live in.”

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