Pride Flag raised at Fresno City Hall for the first time

Hundreds gathered together Friday to watch as the Pride Flag was raised at Fresno City Hall for the first time.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For the first time in the city of Fresno's history, pride flies high above city hall.

During the flag raising ceremony, Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis said, "regardless of who you are and whom you love, you are the fabric of our community and our city we support you."

Already making history as Fresno's first female Fire Chief, Donis, a proud member of the LGBTQ community, did the honors of raising the flag.

Chief Donis says, "It's hard to put into words to help people, not in the LGBTQ community, understand the depth of that emotion. What it is to say we see you and we want to treat you as equal as anyone else that has had rights for centuries. It's significant."

Councilmember Esmeralda Soria says, "I wanted to make sure that our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters knew that we see them and we know that they are valuable members of our city."

Hundreds of people from the community, including city and faith leaders, stood side by side to celebrate love.

Even civil rights icon Dolores Huerta made an appearance.

Fresno resident Nickolas Estrada says now that the flag flies at city hall, "this is another stepping stone for younger generations and older generations to not be scared of being gay."

Kevin Lott brought his 2-year-old daughter, Maria Victoria, to witness the historic day. He says, "I don't know how much she'll take in, but it's important to me that she see what's happening today."

"I checked my calendar, it's 2021, where gay rights are not controversy. They are the law of the land," said Councilmember Tyler Maxwell.

City leaders used the ceremony to celebrate the diversity of Fresno.

"My heart has been softened and changed, and that's what motivated me to do what I'm doing," says Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

That change of heart didn't come without heated debate. Mayor Dyer says he received hundreds of messages on both sides, even threats.

Mayor Dyer says, "Even though there's been conflict, I have total peace. I know this is the right thing to do for Fresno and I know it in my heart."

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