Walking past the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond this morning, it was business as usual minus a few street closures by Brown’s Island prepping for an Independence Day fireworks display.
On the Fed’s flag pole waved Old Glory, but without the burst of color underneath. With Pride Month’s close, the rainbow flag at the Federal Reserve comes down.
For the entire month of June, the Fed flew the rainbow flag in support of their LGBT employees, but it wasn’t without conversation according to Jim Strader, media relations at the bank. He said the organization received a solid number of messages on both sides of the fence – and many from outside Richmond
“All told – phone calls, and e-mails, external and internal totaled about one thousand,” Strader said. ”What we’ve learned in reading and listening – it was fairly evenly divided on folks who were supportive and against it. There was a variety of opinions of what people thought. Some folks mentioned other things going on around the country and reflected on New York and so forth.”
Our decision has generated considerable public reaction—both support for and criticism of the flag. Among the comments we have received are some that interpret our decision as a political or social statement. It is not. One of our employee groups, PRISM, asked to display the flag in recognition of National Pride Month. The Pride flag underscores our overall commitment to inclusion and symbolizes that we respect all individuals and their many differences—and that we believe no one should face discrimination in our Bank. We will continue to fly the flag throughout June’s Pride Month.
So what does all the buzz mean for displaying the flag next year?
“We received a lot of thoughtful commentary and we’re evaluating what we might do in the coming year,” Strader said.
Kevin Clay is the editor and publisher of GAYRVA.COM. He is a Richmond native, loves the city and knows it's on the edge of greatness. Don't hold back RVA. You can follow Kevin on GAYRVA's Twitter or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.