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Today, June 9, 2021 members of the Des Moines city council and members of the Des Moines LGBTQ advisory council raised a custom pride flag over City Hall in downtown Des Moines. Ward 2 city councilwoman or councilperson, as she referred to herself, Linda Westergaard delivered remarks as the flag was raised.

“Thanks to the members of the LGBTQ advisory council as well as our LGBT community for joining me this morning for this flag-raising event. The city of Des Moines is committed to recognizing and seeing the diverse LGBTQ residence of our community. We will raise the pride flag of Des Moines at City Hall for the rest of the month and hope to do so every year in the month of June. Specific [sic] Des Moines logo including the departments’ specific logos will also be altered in the month of June to show our support. We know there is a lot of work to do to create an equitable Des Moines, but this is one of the ways to show our support to the LGBTQ community members. We believe and uphold the value that everyone should be able to live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, violence, and hatred based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. We as a city and as a city council look forward to working with LGBTQ advisor council and our LGBTQ community to continue to learn and promote inclusive and equitable Des Moines.”

Following Westergaard’s comments, Erica Barz, chair of the LGBTQ advisory council added additional remarks:

“My pronouns are she/her/hers and I am speaking today in my role as the Des Monies LGBTQ advisory council’s chair. We are a volunteer group of LGBTQ people living and working in Des Moines, serving as a advisory subcommittee to our city’s civil and human rights commission. I would first like to thank the commission, city council, Mayor Cownie, and every other city official who has made this event possible and supported LGBTQ advisory council’s recommendation to uplift this flag. Visible symbols of support are critical for the LGBTQ community, particularly for those who lack visible support in other areas of their lives. Throughout the rest of pride month any LGBTQ person walking near City Hall will know this city sees them and acknowledges their presence in this community. I would also like to thank One Iowa, the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement, and Flag of Des Moines for creating this flag and sharing it with our city. I especially appreciate that this flag calls special attention to transgender people and black and brown LGBTQ people. Our city still has a lot of work to do to make sure that these communities in particular call Des Moines home without fearing for their health and safety. The organizations that created this flag are doing that work everyday and I want to thank them to continuing to advocate for the most marginalized in our community. If you’re an individual who wants to support their work, buying and displaying this flag from Flag of Des Moines’ website is one way to do that. A portion of the proceeds from this flag are set aside for One Iowa and the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement’s critical work. Flags are not a substitute for doing the work required to make our city a place where all LGBTQ people can thrive. They can, however, represent a commitment to improvement and doing that necessary work. This flag is an aspirational symbol of what our city can and must become. LGBTQ advisory council has and will continue to make recommendations for policy changes that bring us closer to making the vision [sic] of this flag a reality. We are committed to working with city officials and our city’s LGBTQ community to build a better Des Moines together and our hope is that this flag represents one small step as our city dives deeper into that work.”

City of Des Moines

Author: Kelsey Kennedy

Kelsey Kennedy is a wife and a mother. She's writing under a pseudonym.