REDLANDS, Calif. - Next month, Redlands City Council is expected to consider, once again, whether to fly the rainbow pride flag at City Hall, according to city officials.
At a Special City Council Meeting on Tuesday, called to discuss new project priorities, some residents came with a more sober message.
During open public comment, a handful of individuals asked that the pride flag be raised at City Hall to honor murdered Lake Arrowhead resident and LGBTQ ally Laura Ann ‘Lauri’ Carleton.
Carleton was shot and killed on August 18 after a dispute over a rainbow pride flag that hung outside her business. According to a press release from San Bernardino County Sheriff, the suspected shooter made "several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store," before shooting Carleton.
Response from Redlands
Council Member Denise Davis is responsible for adding the item to the September 5 meeting agenda.
“This loss is sending shockwaves throughout our community and the nation. A number of Redlands residents have asked if we could fly the pride flag in Lauri’s honor, and I am happy to support this request.”
Davis said the decision by the City Council not to fly the pride flag during Pride Month in June has impacted the community.
“I want our council to send a message that the LGBTQ community matters, in Redlands and beyond,” Davis wrote.
Public Comments to Support the Pride Flag
Although residents in the council chambers knew the outcome of their request - a request to fly the rainbow flag in Carleton’s honor would be on the agenda in September - many still chose to speak.
Here's what some of them had to say
"When the City Council voted to no longer fly the Pride flag, it emboldened hateful homophobic people. It signaled to them that Redlands does not stand with the queer community," said resident Samantha Trad.
Trad said she fears something like the shooting in Lake Arrowhead could happen in Redlands. "Instead of being afraid to fly the flag, I really encourage you to consider flying it in honor of our neighbor, Lauri Carleton."
Another speaker, Michael, urged the Council to fly the pride flag to "support a community that's under attack." The speaker pointed to increasing violence and laws aimed at limiting the rights of the LGBTQ community that make raising the pride flag important.
"You have the right, you can do it, it's up to you whether you choose to do it," Michael told City Council.
Another speaker said flying the rainbow flag in honor of Carleton would show that "acts of hate have no place here."
No one at Tuesday's meeting spoke in opposition to the idea.
Last June, in a 3-2 vote, the Redlands City Council decided against flying the pride flag on the City flagpole for Pride Month.