North Orange County Community College District Board of
1830 W. Romneya Drive
Anaheim, CA 92801-1819
I write this letter with a deep sense of concern and disappointment regarding resolution No. 23/24-02, which proposes to ban most flags including the Progressive Pride Flag. While the intention may be framed as one of neutrality, it is evident that this resolution is far from neutral; rather, it carries the potential to foster division, hinder knowledge dissemination, and exacerbate hatred and violence.
The Progressive Pride Flag holds immense significance as a symbol of safety and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. Throughout history, LGBTQ+ individuals faced severe discrimination, with laws prohibiting their congregating, self-expression, and pursuit of love.
Tragically, instead of empathy and support, they encountered ridicule and neglect in the face of a deadly disease. Even today, many parts of our country lack adequate legal protections against workplace and community discrimination for LGBTQ+ individuals.
The Pride Flag emerged in 1978 as a response to this overt and institutionalized oppression. It stands as a testament to significant milestones in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, such as the Stonewall uprising in 1969, the first Pride Parade in 1970, the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by the American Psychological Association in 1973, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Lawrance v Texas in 2003, and the historic victory for marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.
The Pride Flag symbolizes struggle, hope, and celebration, and it encapsulates the history of these momentous events.
I urge you to recognize that the Pride Flag is not a symbol of partisanship, as LGBTQ+ individuals belong to diverse political affiliations. It is not a symbol of controversy, as the district prides itself on being inclusive and diverse. It is not a symbol of radicalism since the rights it represents are established law in our nation. Moreover, the Progressive Pride Flag is inclusive of all races, making it in no way a symbol of racism. Thus, the concerns raised in the resolution about divisive symbols being introduced through this flag are unfounded.
Furthermore, allowing the Pride Flag to be flown does not open the door to distasteful
symbols, as suggested in the slippery slope argument presented in the resolution.
On the contrary, the Pride Flag represents an important aspect of culture and history, subjects that are taught and discussed within your district. Banning the flag would not only stifle discussion but also impede the learning and understanding of this vital part of our shared history.
It is essential to note that flags are not the sole representations of culture and history present in your district; statues, building names, and other symbols also embody various events and cultures throughout your campuses. Before passing a resolution to ban a specific flag, it is only fair to conduct an inventory of all symbols on campus and ensure consistency in decision-making.
Setting that inventory aside, banning the Progressive Pride Flag sends a message of oppression and undermines the safe and inclusive environment that you strive to provide for your students, staff, and community. Such an action can be likened to hate speech, perpetuating harm rather than fostering an environment of support and growth. This in turn would have fewer students wanting to enroll in your district, contrary to the author’s stated rationale.
Therefore, I urge you to vote against this resolution and instead promote an environment that embraces diversity, inclusivity, and the celebration of history and culture. This district should be flying more flags and symbols of the communities and students they serve, not fewer.
Let us stand together in solidarity, demonstrating our commitment to providing an atmosphere of acceptance and respect for all.
Jeffery M Freitas, President
CFT – A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals
cc: Seija Rohkea, President Adjunct Faculty United