Athens hoists Pride flag for 3rd year

ATHENS — Marya Warshaw and Jane-Cole Raftery moved from Brooklyn in September of 2019. They had been visiting Athens for about seven years before ultimately deciding to relocate upstate. After moving into the community, both women felt it was important to raise a Pride flag outside their new home.

One evening, they overheard three teenage boys outside their window talking about what the flag meant, and it was one voice in particular that expressed comfort in seeing the rainbow-colored symbol.

It was at this moment that Warshaw and Raftery decided they would organize a Pride event in Athens. June 1, 2020 was the first year of the Pride flag raising and celebration at Athens Riverfront Park. Yard signs and Pride flags are available for sale upon request. All proceeds will go to the D.R. Evarts Library accessibility renovation.

The library was built in 1907. The accessibility renovations include an elevator installation and wheelchair ramp. In 2018, the library applied for a System for Award Management grant. The grant was approved and the plan is in phase 2.

There are five aspects to the renovation, which might result in different contracts. These include general contracting, mechanical, electrical, sprinkler and plumbing-heating. The renovations could take six months to complete. The library will display queer literature beginning June 1.

Raftery became a library board trustee.

Simultaneous to the annual Pride flag-raising and D.R. Evarts Library Pride book display, the Athens Cultural Center will host a month-long Pride exhibition named “Spectrum.” There is an opening block party scheduled for June 3 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Co-curators Farika and Carter Lou Macelroy, both residents of Athens and members of the queer community, have scheduled events throughout the month of June that includes a visual work by the local high school Inclusivity Club, a collaboration with Light Bright Neon, a neon art studio based in Kingston.

Farika collaborated with Light Bright Neon and a silent auction will take place, with all proceeds going toward Out Hudson Scholarship. The Athens Cultural Center is also solidifying plans for a Queer Prom and one-woman show honoring trans-activist Sylvia Rivera.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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