Haverhill’s LGBTQA+ Pride Flag-Raising Ceremony Kicks Off Month-Long Celebration

Officials and people from all walks of life participated in a ceremony kicking off Pride Month in Haverhill. (Mike Jarvis photograph for WHAV News.)

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan offers remarks as Mayor James J. Fiorentini looks on. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill’s largest-ever LGBTQA+ Pride Flag-raising Wednesday afternoon kicked off Pride Month during a ceremony outside Haverhill City Hall.

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan served as master of ceremonies, thanking residents for joining in the celebration.

“Today, I am especially proud of my city for recognizing and celebrating the importance and value of all our citizens and especially the LGBTQA+ and black and brown communities,” he said.

Rev. Jason W. Saulnier of Haverhill was honored for his commitment to, and leadership in, the gay community. Sullivan noted Saulnier’s participation in toy and food drives and he was presented citations from Sen. Diana DiZoglio on behalf the Massachusetts Senate, Fiorentini on behalf of the City of Haverhill and Council President Melinda E. Barrett on behalf of the City Council. Rep. Andy X. Vargas also praised Saulnier and said a House citation will be presented later this week.

Sullivan also applauded the work of the city’s youth last summer holding a peaceful and safe Black Lives Matter rally that “united our community in a way I have not seen since the Vietnam-era protests back in the 1960s.”

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Haverhill has always accepted diversity, noting his grandparents’ settling in Haverhill after immigrating from Italy.

Phoenix Rising United Church of Christ Pastor Donna Spencer Collins, giving the invocation, urged all to “put down the sword of adversity and extend the hand of friendship.”

“I also ask you to help us remember that there are still fights to continue—that justice is not justice until everyone receives justice,” she said.

Former City Councilor Kenneth E. Quimby raised the flag from a second-floor window of City Hall. Other officials in attendance were Councilors Joseph J. Bevilacqua, Colin F. LePage, John A. Michitson, Timothy J. Jordan, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien and William J. Macek; and School Committee member Richard J. Rosa.

June was selected as Pride month to observe June 28, 1969 when there was an uprising against a police raid on Stonewall Inn in New York City.

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