Russell Hosts a Flag Raising Ceremony in Honour of Pride Month

By Gabrielle Vinette
Russell Hosts a Flag Raising Ceremony in Honour of Pride Month
Denise Marie Theresa Latulippe received the first award in her namesake at Saturday’s Pride flag raising event. The Latulippe Award is to be given to one individual every who show extraordinary leadership and dedication to advancing 2SLGBTQ+ rights and inclusion. (Photo : Joseph Coppolino, EAP)

In honour of the beginning of June being Pride month, the Municipality of Russell municipality held a pride flag ceremony on Saturday, June 8, at the town hall in Embrun. 

The event kicked off Pride month with speakers, performances, community art, information and a picnic. Over 120 people attended the ceremony.  

Russell’s first flag raising ceremony began in 2021 when Richard Thain, the now co-organizer of the Russell Township Pride Flag Raising Committee, noticed there was no pride flag at the Township of Russell city hall during the month of June. 

“So, I just pulled into the township hall, I just asked them at the desk I said, ‘By the way, because I know some communities fly a rainbow flag, would Embrun, for symbolic reasons, raise a rainbow flag?’ And the woman at the desk said that any residents can request this, you just have to fill out the form.” 

Thain then filled out the form, went in front of the Russell Council to get approved and was able to organize the first flag raising ceremony with his daughter, Geneviève Thain. 

“It’s such a positive thing. You know, people really appreciate the help and just like knowing that young people are supported and all that. So that’s how we got into it,” said Thain. 

Thain said more and more people attend each year and the ceremony has been gaining more community support. 

New annual leadership award introduced 

This year the Russell Township Pride Flag Raising Committee added a new element to the ceremony – a prize to honour those who have shown in protecting and fighting for the rights of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. 

Le Prix Denise Latulippe Award, named after Denise Marie Theresa Latulippe, was first given to its namesake Mme. Latulippe to inaugurate the prize. The first award was then given to Marigold Golden-deRepentigny, honouring both of their “extraordinary leadership and dedication in advancing 2SLGBTQ+ rights and inclusion.” 

The prize comes with a $1,000 award and will be granted to one individual each year. 

During the ceremony, Francis Drouin, MP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, presented as well at the new Mayor of Russell Mike Tarnowski. 

From June until September, the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and allies come together throughout the summer to highlight the resilience, talent, and contributions of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community with Pride Season. 

Pride Season, a term referring to the range of Pride events that take place over the five months, is when 2SLGBTQI+ communities and allies come together to spotlight the resilience, celebrate the talent, and recognize the contributions of these communities. 

The acronym 2SLGBTQI+ stands for Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and additional people who identify as part of sexual and gender communities. The 2S recognizes Two-Spirit people as the first 2SLGBTQI+ communities. The I for intersex considers sex characteristics beyond sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The + is inclusive of people who identify as part of sexual and gender diverse communities and who use additional terminologies. 

 With the help of the Community, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Municipality of Russell, the municipality said it continues to work to promote and foster a community where all residents and visitors feel welcome, comfortable, valued, and respected. 

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