UPDATE Pride flag flies in Berwick for the first time

Nancy Kelly nkelly@kingscountynews.ca
Published on July 23, 2014

The Pride flag was hoisted in Berwick July 23 for the first time.

A small gathering of residents, town staff and council representatives attended the flag raising ceremony, held at the town hall. 

The rainbow flag, originally a symbol of gay and lesbian community pride, is now also recognized as a visual celebration of diversity in a society that is accepting of all its citizens.

Katelyn Morton of South Berwick, who recently penned an email letter to Berwick Mayor Don Clarke urging the town to raise the flag, was also in attendance.

Before reading the proclaimation, Clarke admitted the town had "been remiss" in missing the opportunity to share in Nova Scotia's celebration of Pride Week.

Morton, an openly gay, 24-year-old student, said she felt the time was right to press the town to do what other Nova Scotia municipalities have been doing.

"I was happy to see the (Pride) flag raised in Shelburne and other towns and thought there was no excuse for Berwick not to do it."

Being raised in a rural area, Morton knows only too well that lesbian and gay attitudes still exist.

"It's good to make waves, but we still have a long way to go," she said of her decision to speak up.

While she did not directly link the letter to the hastily-organized event, Berwick director of community development Julie Glaser did indicate "Ms. Morton's communication was well-timed.”

"We have been speaking (about) and researching a policy for flag raising prior to this, and figuring out a plan.”

The town currently has no flag policy, but staff plans to present one to council in the near future. Two more flag poles will be added next to the existing one to allow standard flags to remain up while other events, such as Acadian Days, Black History Month and Aboriginal Days are recognized.