"We are very honoured to be flying the Pride flag here at Kamloops City Hall for the first time ever."
Those were some of the first words spoken beneath a new flagpole in downtown Kamloops.
With a pair of short speeches, Kamloops Pride president Kirstin McLaughlin and flagpole proponent Katelyn Blaine marked the raising of the Pride flag in front of city hall on Monday (Aug. 20).
The pole was built after Blaine started a petition last year to raise the Pride flag on one of the city's other flagpoles, but the idea was nixed due to policy. Instead, a new community pole was erected, and the Pride flag is the first one on it.
"It really shows inclusion and support on behalf of city council, which means so much to us," McLaughlin tells KamloopsMatters. "And a really public declaration that Kamloops is a city that's going to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion.
"I'll be honest in saying I'm more emotional here today than I thought I would be."
Blaine agrees it was an emotional moment seeing the culmination of her work.
"It's pretty overwhelming. I'm glad that they did it, and I'm glad everyone in the LGBTQ2S+ community gets to see that and now it's there for everybody," she says.
The flag raising marked the kick-off of Pride Week in Kamloops and brought out around 40 people.
Kamloops Pride director Sam Numsen says the midday crowd is a strong sign of support.
"Many, many people here on a work afternoon made some time in their day to come and celebrate with us," he says.
Numsen recently wrote a column about the importance of Pride events during this day and age.
Coun. Donovan Cavers and Coun. Kathy Sinclair were the only sitting politicians to attend the flag raising. Cavers says what's happening in the city is a sign of support for inclusion.
"Obviously, there's a lot of businesses on Victoria Sreet that are getting behind Pride Week and they're putting out displays," he says. "I'm really happy city hall is able to do something like this as well."
VIDEO: The raising of the Pride flag at #Kamloops city hall, with countdown. It was raised by Katlyn Blaine (@katebirl), the community member who was behind the push for the new pole. #pride2018 #KAMPRIDE2018 pic.twitter.com/MDrQL7yibC— Brendan Kergin ✒️ (@BKergin) August 20, 2018
McLaughlin says the flag raising shows this is what happens when the community supports one another.
"Kamloopsians are envisioning the city they want to live in and this is a part of that."
For more about the upcoming events, click HERE.