THE FLAG POLE at Town Hall will soon be available for displaying other flags, such as the Pride flag and the Juneteenth flag. (Mark Sardella Photo)


WAKEFIELD — The “Pride” flag and the “Juneteenth” flag will soon be sharing space with Old Glory on public flag poles in Wakefield after the Town Council this week agreed to changes to the town’s Flag Policy requested by the Wakefield Human Rights Commission.

The Pride Flag typically features a rainbow design and is displayed as a symbol of support for LGBTQ rights. The Juneteenth flag commemorates the day that slavery ended in the US. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.

Since 2019, the Pride flag has been displayed during the month of June on the pole in front of the Americal Civic Center, per the Flag Policy approved that year.

But Human Rights Commission Chair Benny Wheat claimed that the HRC had been hearing from members of the community who wanted the Pride and Juneteenth flags to be displayed in more visible locations. She also explained that, since Pride Week and Juneteenth both occur in June, being limited to one flag pole presented scheduling problems. Having more pole options would allow both flags to be flown simultaneously on separate poles.

Wheat requested that all public flag poles in town be available for displaying other flags in addition to the US flag, with the exception of the flag pole on Veterans Memorial Common and those at the schools. At minimum, she wanted the flag poles at the Civic Center, Town Hall and Veterans Field to be available for other flags besides just the American flag.

Up to now, the town’s Flag Policy has allowed flags to be flown on the Americal Civic Center flag pole in connection with events being held at the Civic Center. Under the policy, requests to fly a flag or banner at the Civic Center must come from a public body, a town department or a non-profit that supports a town department. Flags and banners are allowed on the pole as long as they are flown below the American flag and are not larger than the American flag.

Wheat wanted the policy expanded to include any town property being used by a town body for an event along with other pole locations.

Town Councilor Ann Santos said that the changes to the Flag Policy aligned with the original intent of the policy. She also asserted that more visibility for these flags “makes us a more inclusive and welcoming community.”

But Councilor Edward Dombroski was concerned about displacing the POW-MIA flag that flies on some local flagpoles as well as other “unintended consequences” of the revised policy. He was also concerned about the potential of more and more groups making requests. He also wondered if the same flag would be flown on multiple flag poles.

Town Council Chair Julie Smith-Galvin said that having the same flag on three flag poles “probably doesn’t make sense but we can talk about it.” She also indicated that the flag pole on Veterans Memorial Common “should never be touched.”

The Town Council voted to assign Town Counsel Thomas Mullen the task of updating the Flag Policy to reflect the changes requested by the Human Rights Commission.

The Town Council is expected to vote on the revised policy at its next meeting.