For first time, Lynnwood City Council recognizes June as Pride Month


City officials pose with the Pride Month Proclamation. (photos courtesy of the City of Lynnwood Facebook page)

For the first time, the City of Lynnwood has recognized June as Pride Month – a move that was welcomed following a city council proclamation earlier this week.

“Pride Month isn’t just important to the LGBTQ+ community,” Lynnwood Executive Assistant Leah Jensen said during the council’s Monday, June 27, meeting. “It’s also an opportunity for all of us to remember how important it is to love ourselves for who we really are. The reality is: we’re all incredibly similar and yet wonderfully unique at the same time.”

MaryAnne Grafton, a 16-year city employee, said she’s thrilled to see the council recognizing the importance of the month.

“I’m very glad to work in a city that chooses the path of human dignity and respect,” Grafton said. Quoting poet Amanda Gorman, she continued, “‘We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be.’”

Deputy City Clerk Luke Lonie thanked everyone for recognizing Pride Month but reminded the audience that there is still work to be done.

“We thank everybody for the attention to the community and to the struggles that are still ongoing,” Lonie said. “But while there has been progress, it is still very difficult.”

Arra Rael, who was recently appointed to Lynnwood’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, said she knew she was gay when she was 6 years old, but didn’t feel comfortable coming out until she was 18.

“[When I finally came out], I was full of hope, I was full of happiness; but I was also full of fear,” Rael said. “I knew what it meant to come out. I had resigned myself to accepting that I would never have the things that other folks would take for granted. When I came out … I thought that I would never get married. I might never even find anyone who could love me for who I am.”

Rael said that she was lucky, because her family did not disown her or kick her out when she told them who she really was. Instead, they worked to accept her and show her that she was still loved. She also did get married, but many are not so fortunate, she said.

“[I wish] that 18-year-old could see me … accepting a Pride Month proclamation here, in this amazing city that we have claimed as our home,” Rael said. “We are your neighbors. We are your friends, your family, your coworkers. We are here. We are queer. And we will not live in the shadows. We refuse to.”

Rael profusely thanked the council for recognizing Pride Month and working so hard to ensure that Lynnwood accepts all its residents for who they are.

“This proclamation is well and dandy for all of us who continue to fight for our rights,” she said. “But really, this is for those frightened 18-year-olds, 16-year-olds, 6-year-olds who are scared of accepting who they are. And all they want is to be loved and to feel like they belong.”

City officials pose with the All are Welcome Proclamation.

In addition Monday night, the council read a proclamation for the city’s motto, All are Welcome.

In 2017, the council adopted a commitment to be an affirming, welcoming and safe community for all. Not long after, the DEIC launched the All are Welcome initiative, which quickly became the city’s motto.

Stickers were quickly made with the slogan written in 11 of Lynnwood’s most spoken languages. 

Now, in 2022, a flag has been erected outside of Lynnwood City Hall in 14 languages. The flag, raised by Mayor Christine Frizzell along with members from the 2017 DEIC, stands as a visible symbol of safety and welcome for all.

“We are continuing to adopt policies to create a more welcoming, more inclusive community where we all do belong and we all feel welcome,” Frizzell said.

–By Lauren Reichenbach

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