The Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park Lions Club, in partnership with local elected officials and community leaders, raised a Progress Pride Flag at the 133rd Street and Liberty Avenue intersection triangle in Richmond Hill, on Tuesday, June 6.
Richmond Hill-South Ozone Park Lions Club 2nd Vice District Governor, Romeo Hitlall, with the aid of attendees, placed and raised the Pride flag on the existing flagpole, solidifying shared support of the LGBTQ+ community in Richmond Hill and the entire borough.
At a time when LGBTQ+ awareness is paramount, Councilwoman Lynn Schulman, along with Queens DA Candidate George Grasso and representatives from the offices of Assembly members Jenifer Rajkumar and Stacey Pheffer Amato, Councilwoman Joann Ariola and Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr, attended the flag raising and shared their support.
“I’m so happy to be here as a member of the LGBTQ community and it’s really an honor to be a part of this,” said Schulman. “Pride is about inclusivity and the fact that we’re doing this in this part of Queens is great. We are the most diverse borough in the city and this is just really amazing.”
Although the smoke from the Canadian wildfires created hazardous air quality conditions, blanketing the sky in a gray fog, and despite a brief scattered rain shower, nothing halted this group from showing their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
“This is a major accomplishment for all of us, so I really am proud of the work that we all do and we should all be proud of ourselves, including all the elected officials, that help bring all of us together,” said Sam Esposito, president of the Ozone Park Block Association and Ozone Park Howard Beach Lions Club.
Last year was the first time Richmond Hill residents were able to see a Pride flag waving at the flagpole above the notable “Welcome to Richmond Hill” sign, but community backlash was cause for concern, Hitlall shared.
Police presence at the first event helped alleviate any concerns of retaliation, and this year was no different, but Hitlall said he has no worries this time around. He also expressed how education will definitely help create a greater understanding of the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Month lasts throughout the month of June.