Civil Rights

Little Compton holds first official Pride celebration

“Because of the organizers of this celebration, the Town of Little Compton is flying the Pride flag on town hall for the first time,” said Little Compton Town Councilor Andrew Moore. “Now I recognize that for those of you from other parts of the state that might not seem like a big deal, but for those of us who live here and are part of the LGBTQ+ community, this is huge.”
Photo for Little Compton holds first official Pride celebration

Published on June 14, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

On Wednesday the Little Compton Town Council voted 4-0 to fly the Philadelphia Pride flag on the Town Hall. The Philadelphia Pride flag is similar to the traditional rainbow striped flag, with an extra black and brown strip to recognize LGBTQ+ racial diversity. Though the discussion ahead of the vote was at times contentious, in the end all four of the Town Council members in attendance, two Democrats and two Republicans, voted in favor. The next day, the Little Compton School Committee and the Wilbur McMahon School (Pre-K through 8th Grade) decided to fly the more traditional Pride flag outside their school.

The flags flying is the work of Little Compton’s LGBTQ+ Coordinating Committee who also arrange the very first Little Compton Pride celebration in the town’s history on Saturday. The historic event was marked with food, displays and visits from politicians.

Little Compton residents Megan Gonzalez and Jenna Magnuski introduced the speaking program. “There’s just been a staggering outpouring of support,” said Magnuski, “town residents who have contacted us with shock and joy saying they love Little Compton but they never thought they’s see this happening here.”

“We still live a country where, in a majority of states, it is legal to discriminate against members of our community in areas of housing, public accommodations, jury service, federal funding, education and even, in some cases, unemployment,” said United States Representative David Cicilline (Democrat, Rhode Island). Cicilline has introduced legislation, the Equality Act, that prohibits discrimination based on sex, orientation or gender identity in all those areas. That bills awaits passage in the Senate.

Discrimination, said Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, “is so subtle some times, and it hurts. It’s good when you can come together with a good group of friends and allies and celebrate who you are…”

“When we’re able to celebrate our uniqueness as individuals, it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing,” said Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea.

“One of the things I’m exited about – I was thinking about it today – is in this moment we are here with masks off, in more than one way,” said Rhode Island State Representative Michelle McGaw (Democrat, District 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton). “Today we get to show who we really are.”

“Not only is this the first LC event in memory that recognizes and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and the diversity that exists within our town, but we’ve also achieved another big milestone in Little Compton. Because of the organizers of this celebration, the Town of Little Compton is flying the Pride flag on town hall for the first time,” said Little Compton Town Councilor Andrew Moore. “Now I recognize that for those of you from other parts of the state that might not seem like a big deal, but for those of us who live here and are part of the LGBTQ+ community, this is huge.”

“June is the month to celebrate who we are, regardless of our body, our identity, our sexual orientation,” said Lenny Cioe, candidate for Senate District 4 in Providence. “But today is particularly special because today we also get to celebrate where we are. You get to be proud of who you are, in the place where you live.”

Kari Star, Board Member at the Little Compton Wellness Center:

Little Compton resident Ja’Myah Moton, who begins at the University of Pittsburgh in September, with a poetry reading:

Drag Queen Kelly Square:

Little Compton Town Hall
Jenna Magnuski and Megan Gonzalez

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