NEW: Pride protest tonight in Woonsocket after Baldelli-Hunt schedules a clash event

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Monday, June 28, 2021

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A pride of progress flag – which event organizers say the city initially rejected this year. Photo: CC / Daniel Quasar

Organizers of a pride celebration in Woonsocket are now planning a protest instead on Monday evening, after saying Woonsocket mayor Lisa Baldelli Hunt deliberately planned a confrontational event at the location.

Pride organizers said they tried to host an event earlier in the month for June 28 at River Island Park – but the town told them they couldn’t use this location due to the construction, and despite the payment of application fees, they were never registered with the municipal council. .

Instead, organizers said they were planning an event at the Marketplace, after which Baldelli-Hunt scheduled a last-minute auto show to be held there.

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On Monday, the Black Lives Matter RI PAC released a statement in support of the pride demonstration now scheduled for Monday evening.

“Woonsocket City Council voted 7-0 on a resolution that would recognize June as Woonsocket Pride Month, including a pride flag raising ceremony to be held annually. , the community of Woonsocket called and emailed Mayor Lisa Baldelli -Hunt and each member of city council asking them to hold a 2021 pride flag raising ceremony as promised, ”said BLM RI PAC.” City officials responded by raising a traditional upside-down rainbow flag without anyone in the community knowing it was happening. After this disrespectful action, the community took matters into their own hands by replacing the upside down flag with the new Progress Flag of Pride. “

On Thursday, June 24, Mayor Hunt announced that she would be holding a car show at River Island Park on Monday at 5:30 p.m., after which Woonsocket’s very first Pride event was to be held at the same location by Rebuild Woonsocket just an hour and a half. half a year later, “continued BLM RI PAC. “Although the permit application for the Woonsocket Pride to be held at River Island Park was submitted correctly and on time, the application was never placed on the agenda of the city council meeting for unknown reasons. . After attempting to move the event to Market Square, a public place in the middle of a parking lot, the Woonsocket Police Department telephoned a member of the Rebuild Woonsocket board, letting them know that an event was being held by Mayor Hunt would already take place in this area. “

“Woonsocket Pride is still going on, and a march to protest the mayor’s ignorance has been added. Participants are to meet at River Island Park at 6:30 p.m. and head to WWII Memorial Park for the event already. expected. ”says BLM RI PAC.

“The issues of oppression are issues that no elected official from Woonsocket has ever had or will ever have to go through, which is why this whole situation is disgusting, but not surprising,” said the executive assistant of BLM RI PAC, Jaliyah Joseph. “How can you see yourself as a leader while turning your back on a whole community of people who are struggling to love? Leaders have to start moving as such. It is more than embarrassing and shameful.”

“This is very often the case with some institutionalized marginalization – it is not the mayor who shouts ‘I hate homosexuals’ from a rooftop. He uses obscure and ill-defined tactics, ”said Alex Kithes, organizer of Rebuild RI on Monday.

Baldelli-Hunt did not respond to the request for comment at time of posting.

“Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, as the former state representative, voted against marriage equality in 2013. She voted against the right of LGBTQ + people to marry. She voted against my right to marry. marry me, ”Kithes said.

“Maybe she can try to pretend she was unaware of our event – but when did the town of Woonsocket schedule an event with three days’ notice,” he said he adds.

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