Today the Shasta County Board of Supervisors officially named June as Pride month in Shasta County.
Don Yost, an LGBTQ+ ally representing NorCal Outreach, read the historic proclamation in front of the Board of Supervisors. The wording focused on the inherent humanity of all people, the right for all to live, work and play in Shasta County, and the value that people of a variety of sexual orientations contribute to Shasta County’s culture, civic society and economy.
The proclamation also called attention to the need for members of the LGBTQ+ community to feel both safe and empowered in the place they call home and encouraged the public’s recognition and support of this community.
Response to the reading of the proclamation was immediate as more than a half dozen speakers rose to criticize its inclusion on the Board of Supervisors agenda and to caution Supervisors against voting for it. Many such speeches were met with vigorous applause from the audience.
Board of Supervisors members were divided in their opinions on the proclamation.
In his brief remarks about the proclamation, Chair Chimenti chose to reread the last paragraph of the document, which urges residents to actively promote the principles of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Chimenti referred to himself a conservative American and a practicing Catholic who supports the Constitutional rights of all.
“I will not pass judgement on a lifestyle,” Chimenti said, “because God is quite capable of doing that, should he, or she, decide to. I’m going to recognize every quality human being for the value that they bring. Everyone in this country, everyone in this county, has the right to equality, liberty and justice. This is not negotiable.”
Supervisors Baugh and Jones voted against adopting the proclamation, which passed three to two.
Despite Shasta County’s slow progress towards LGBTQ+ inclusion, today’s historic proclamation and a series of community Pride events throughout June demonstrate significant progress towards acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.
On June 4th, Wolfpack Clubhouse, a community non-profit dedicated to support for the LGBTQ+ community, organized the painting of the intersectional Pride flag under the umbrellas in the newly revitalized area of downtown Redding. The City of Redding granted permission for the project which was supported by other community organizations.
Incorporating a medley of colors including brown, black, pink, blue, and white, along with the traditional rainbow colors, the intersectional Pride flag represents the variety of ethnic backgrounds, gender expressions, and gender identities that make up the LGBTQ+ community. Two days after it was painted, the Pride flag was minimally damaged by bicycle skid marks, but Wolfpack Clubhouse members and allies mobilized to paint over the damage on June 6th, stating on social media that they will continue to repaint it as often as necessary.
Throughout June, Pride celebrations in Shasta County will continue with the Shasta County Historical Society’s LGBTQ+ Historical Overview, to be held on Saturday, June 12th via Zoom.
According to the event Facebook page, members of the NorCal Outreach Project board of directors and community members will share the history of the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for civil liberties in Shasta County. Topics will include gathering places used by the LGBTQ+ community over the years, organizations supporting the community both in the past and present, and notable Shasta County community members who identify as LGBTQ+.
The event supports the online exhibition, “Wherever There’s A Fight: A History of Civil Liberties in California,” which will be available to non-members virtually at the Arts Council website beginning July 10th.
Plant Daddy, a plant shop located on the corner of Market and Tehama Streets next to the Downtown Redding sign, will host Plant Daddy Pride outside their shop on June 19th. The event will include a Makers Bazaar from 10–4 with informational booths by local LGBTQ+ outreach groups. Plant Daddy Pride will continue into the evening with live musical performances, beginning outside the shop at 5:30.
A Youth Pride Party, hosted by Wolfpack Clubhouse, will be held June 26th from 10–4 in the IOOF building in downtown Redding as a kickoff for their summer outreach program for LGBTQ+ youth and allies. The event will provide a fun and safe environment for local LGBTQ+ youth and those who support them to play games, watch movies, participate in art, music and dance activities, and hang out with peers. San Francisco Pride will be livestreamed on the big screen during the event.
Director Terrie Carson says supervising adults involved in the youth program have been LiveScan background checked to ensure youth safety, and most work professionally as counselors and crisis advocates. Wolfpack Clubhouse will welcome youth to help plan future events and take ownership of this local community space intended to meet their needs.
Redding’s Pride Festival won’t be held for several months, running from September 18-26 with the theme “Connected with Pride.” Since 2009, NorCal Outreach says they have been the driving force behind this local event, which has attracted a wide range of support and up to two thousand participants, making it the largest local annual gathering for the local LGBTQ+ community.
Meanwhile in Tehama County, the very first Tehama Pride Festival will be held at the Tehama County Fairgrounds on June 18th.
A kick-off event for Tehama Pride was held June 5th at the Tehama County Arts Council building and included “The Art of Authenticity” exhibit and the lighting of the art gallery with a rainbow of colors. The Arts Council partnered with Tehama Creatives and Tehama OUTreach on the art show and lighting, both of which will be on display through June 26.