A progress pride flag was raised for the first time outside of the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building in downtown Juneau last week by members of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Alaska Region. The flag sits just below the U.S. flag and will remain there throughout the month of June for Pride Month.
The progress pride flag symbolizes the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, including trans and non-binary individuals, along with marginalized communities of color. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce, which just last year along with the General Services Administration issued guidance for agencies that occupy DOC or GSA space — or employee groups within those agencies — to have permission to fly a pride flag.
Because NOAA occupies space in the federal building, that meant it could raise a flag under that guidance and did so. Since the flag was raised in Juneau and featured in an article last week, the Empire has received responses both criticizing and supporting the flag being flown on government property.
Under DOC and GSA guidance, hundreds have been raised across the country both last June and now. Just last week Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo raised one and spoke during the ceremony.
“With this flag, we’re reaffirming our support for the LGBTQI+ members of the Commerce team, and the Biden administration’s commitment to building a more inclusive society for all Americans,” Raimondo said.
However, lawmakers in states like Florida have proposed legislation to ban the amount that can be raised, stating in a bill “no other flag may be exposed to public view…by a governmental agency, local government, or unit of local government.”
Kristin Mabry, NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region learning officer, said the organization had been working towards flying the pride flag for the month of June at the federal building since February, saying that doing so was in keeping with guidance from the DOC and the GSA. She said it would have been flown last June, if they had found out about the requirements and the process in time.
She said the Alaska Regional Office has a team that is focused on inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, and raising the flag was something that they wanted to pursue.
“Our region has shared values — respect, integrity, collaboration, accountability, and open communication — and everybody in our region that I’ve talked to or had any kind of interaction with has been 100% supportive of this,” she said. “It’s hard to find the words, but I guess I would go back to the shared values that our region has collectively established for how we work together, and flying the pride flag is a visual example of us living by those shared values.”
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807.