Raising a flag for pride, diversity and inclusion at Sonoma Valley High

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The local LGBTQ Connection’s Youth Leadership Team is comprised of eight Sonoma Valley High School students. Throughout the year, the group plans and executes a community-advocacy project meant to raise awareness and visibility in Sonoma Valley.

With the goal of bringing awareness to the topic of bullying, on Dec. 11, the group raised the Philadelphia rainbow flag which differs from the “traditional” LGBTQ flag because it includes brown and black.

“When it was first raised in Philly, there was a lot of protest because it changed the original pride flag,” said SVHS senior Jose Valdivia. “Eventually, it became a symbol of the LGBTQ community’s internal diversity and commitment to inclusion.”

Valdivia said that their original plan was to raise the flag in front of the SVHS office.

“When we presented the idea to administration, specifically Principal (Justin) Mori, they were very supportive,” Valdivia said. “But we couldn’t do it fully because there was no protocol across the district to do such a thing. We compromised by raising a few flags on Monday under our H building, alongside speeches by our group.”

Valdivia said that when students return from winter break, the group is hoping to work alongside the principal to create a permanent spot for the flag.

“We are trying to find a way to incorporate our entire student body’s diversity through something like a school flag that could represent multiple communities, including the LGBTQ community,” Valdivia said.

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