The rainbow flag will fly below the American flag at Royal Oak Middle School throughout the month of June, which is Pride Month. The school’s Sexuality and Acceptance and Gender Alliance Club spearheaded the initiative.

The rainbow flag will fly below the American flag at Royal Oak Middle School throughout the month of June, which is Pride Month. The school’s Sexuality and Acceptance and Gender Alliance Club spearheaded the initiative.

Photo provided by Amy Murphy


Royal Oak Middle School raises inaugural Pride flag

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published June 11, 2021

 The LED sign at Royal Oak Middle School raises awareness for June as Pride Month.

The LED sign at Royal Oak Middle School raises awareness for June as Pride Month.

Photo provided by Amy Murphy

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ROYAL OAK — On June 1, Royal Oak Middle School hoisted a rainbow flag to recognize the month of June as Pride Month.

The student-led Sexuality and Acceptance and Gender Alliance Club at the middle school spearheaded the initiative.

“For the first time in Royal Oak Schools history, ROMS is showing its Pride. Happy Pride Month! Thanks, SAGA Club for your amazing leadership!” said Sarah Bockhausen, a ROMS teacher and co-sponsor of SAGA Club, in a prepared statement.

ROMS teacher and SAGA Club co-sponsor Hannah Mathes said she was “incredibly proud” of the students for seeking to make the middle school a more welcoming place for everyone.

“(The June 1) events were an excellent example of the leadership and vision we have come to expect from the students at ROMS,” Mathes said in a prepared statement.

Besides the raising of the flag, the day also included welcoming messages on the LED school sign and sidewalks that students created.

According to the Library of Congress, the U.S. celebrates June as Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall uprising, a six-day series of clashes between police and LGBTQ protests in New York City beginning June 28, 1969.

“The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States,” according to the Library of Congress’ website. “Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world.”

In 1978, political activist, designer and veteran Gilbert Baker created the rainbow flag, which would come to be known as the symbol of the LGBTQ movement. While the original flag had eight stripes, the modern flag has six, with red representing life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for serenity and violet for spirit, according to gilbertbaker.com.

On May 24, the Royal Oak City Commission unanimously approved a proclamation designating June 2021 as Pride Month in Royal Oak.

The proclamation states the city’s support of the rights of every citizen to experience equality and freedom from discrimination and referenced voters’ approval in November 2013 of the city’s human rights ordinance.

“As a society at large, we are slowly embracing new definitions of sexuality and gender,” the proclamation reads. “We must also acknowledge that the need for education and awareness remains vital to end discrimination and prejudice.”

While the city’s Family Pride event was postponed in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the proclamation encourages residents to reflect on the “ongoing struggle for equality members of the LGBTQ community face and celebrate their contributions that enhance our city.”

During the month of June, Royal Oak City Hall will also display the rainbow flag “to bring awareness to the continuing evolution (of) the Pride movement,” according to the proclamation.

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