After a year-long effort, the City of Delano has approved a proclamation that declares June 2020 Pride Month.
The proclamation, which was approved June 15, stresses the importance of youth to feel “valued, safe and empowered,” no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and calls for the community to recognize the LGBTQ+ community as a vital part of Delano; to accept all residents; and to prevent harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
“I hope (the proclamation) is received both as a kind reminder of the LGBTQ+ community that lives within Delano and as an open invitation to show support during this month and throughout the year,” said Council Member Bryan Osorio. “I also hope that this proclamation shows the LGBTQ+ community that we see them, and that together, we recognize we can do better to promote an inclusive and welcoming environment.”
The idea to submit a proclamation to the city council began in June 2019, after the Delano LGBTQ Alliance held its first Pride Month Day of Action. More than 50 people turned out to the event and walked the streets of Delano to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
After this day of action, the Delano LGBTQ Alliance worked with Osorio to submit a proclamation, which was submitted to the Delano City Council at the city council meeting following the Day of Action in 2019.
“In our rural Delano community, our LGBTQ+ community has been widely neglected and underrepresented for years,” said Marivel Servin, a member of the Delano LGBTQ+ Alliance. “After last year’s LGBTQ+ Day of Action, one of our goals was to be officially recognized by our elected leaders in Delano in order to highlight the thriving community that has been hiding in the shadows.”
Servin, who helped draft the proclamation, said she became emotional when she held the official proclamation for the first time.
“When our mayor and council presented the proclamation to us, I knew that this proclamation would be the beginning of important conversations for our council and community at large,” Servin said.
Many say last year’s day of action and this year’s proclamation are the first steps toward a more inclusive community, specifically in schools. Some say more resources and support are needed for LGBTQ+ students, including LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum. Examples include LGBTQ+ sex education and history, and staff should stand against any harassment or discrimination against LGBTQ+ students.
Servin said, “This proclamation is necessary and important because it begins to normalize the diversity of identities that exist in Delano and promotes an environment of acceptance and validation where everyone feels welcome and included.”
Featured photo: A group of Kern County residents participated in Delano’s Pride Month Day of Action in 2019.