BALTIMORE — A large Pride flag drapes down off Baltimore’s City Hall.
Mayor Brandon Scott, and his administration, are making it a point to make Baltimore a more inclusive place to live and visit.
Mayor Scott swore in the City’s first-ever Director of LBGTQ+ Affairs -- Londyn Smith-De Richelieu.
“This office will support so many of our residents from different backgrounds and sexual orientations,” Mayor Scott said Wednesday, the first day of Pride Month. “I can’t think of a more appropriate way to start Pride Month.”
Smith-De Richelieu already has an initiative aimed at supporting the LBGTQ+ communities with her #BmoreAmplified plan.
In that initiative, the City will connect with resources and programs to stop the systemic barriers that impact members of the LBGTQ+ communities.
“Pride is not only a party, but a protest,” Smith-De Richelieu. “It is a protest against the inequities detracting from our well-being. It is a protest against the systems that prevent us the right to thrive. We want to thrive.”
At City Hall on Wednesday, in front of members of the LBGTQ+ community, Baltimore’s Safe Haven, Baltimore City Firefighters, Pride Center of Maryland, and other organizations, Mayor Scott proclaimed June as Pride Month in Baltimore City.
“I encourage residents in Baltimore to recognize the contributions made by the LBGTQ communities and to actively promote the principals of equality, liberty and justice for all,” Mayor Scott said.
Baltimore's been taking part in Pride Month since 1975, making it one of the oldest cities in the country to celebrate.
“We are going to start the summer off right – with love not hate, peace not violence,” Mayor Scott said. “The spirit of Pride Month is all about embracing who you are, loving without limits and connecting with your community.”
The mayor added that Pride Month is more than just celebration, but also about taking action against discrimination.
“As a city, we are committed to addressing the barriers that face our LBQTQ communities, and we will continue to work on those issues every day," Mayor Scott said.
The big pride celebration in Baltimore begins June 20 and will last for six days. There will be more thanr 20 events you can participate in.
The LGBTQ+ community has added a “Youth Pride” event to this year's celebration. This contest will allow those 21 and under to showcase their talent and win prizes. Participants will have the chance to win $500 if they come in first, $250 if they come in second, and $100 if they come in third.
The month will end with Baltimore's Pride Parade and Block Party on Saturday, June 25.
The next day, on Sunday, June 26, there will be a High Heel Race on 25th Street in Baltimore, a Pride in the Park festival at Druid Hill Park, and a Queen Cruise along the Inner Harbor.
Camden Yards will light up in rainbow colors later this June.
this year, "Pride" returns amid a time of challenges for the LGBTQ community.
President Joe Biden issued a proclamation honoring pride month and LGBTQ Americans while condemning recent legislation targeting the LGBTQ community.
The president also called on congress to pass the "Equality act," which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.
For more information on Baltimore's Pride Month events, visit its website here.