CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Wednesday was fueled by debate in the South Bay over raising the commemorative Pride flag. Board members of the Chula Vista Elementary School District listened to arguments on both sides of the issue at a special emergency meeting for several hours.
After three hours of public comments, the board voted in a 4 to 1 vote in favor of raising the Pride flag during the month of June and other months throughout the year.
Residents, parents and students with Pride and American flags packed the board room Wednesday with people lined along the walls, with Pride and American flags in hand symbolic of the change they want to see. Each person there with an individual story, fighting for or against what flies on the flagpole just outside the district office.
“Trigger warning, my child, who was befriended by a Christian person in the school once said I’m here to save you. I’m here to save you from being gay that you’re going to die in hell. My child attempted suicide two months later,” Chula Vista parent Gretel Rodriguez shared.
Her child, Tochtli Cervantes, was also there before the board Wednesday asking for empathy and understanding from the board after her near-death encounter.
“I’m not an abomination, I’m not a demon, I’m not a monster, I am who I am, and I’m proud of who I am now…If I had the resources that I had there, a gay flag anything, representation, I would not have swallowed the pills to escape all the pain that I felt in my life,” Cervantes said.
On the other side of the debate, Bibian Harrison was there in opposition of raising the flag leaving board members with this question: “As a proud gay man, I can tell you this Pride flag does not represent me. May 15-May 21st, we had National Police Week. Did you raise your flag to honor the police? We just had Memorial Day, did you raise the flag for fallen heroes, who died for the freedom for us to be here today?”
In a two-to-two vote last week, the motion in favor of the flag failed because it lacked a majority. One of those votes belong to Delia Dominguez Cervantes who voted in opposition of the flag being raised. She worries of what she says could lead to potential negative ramifications.
“The Pride flag identifies only one group of people, the American flag, the U.S. flag identifies the whole country and all of the different thought processes, cultures, religions, everything you can think of, that’s why it’s the United States of America, the one flag represents us all,” Dominguez Cervantes said.
Another one of those votes belonged to Vice President Francisco Tamayo who ended up flipping his vote Wednesday.
“How can any truly ethical person flip their decision so easily and quickly? Strong leaders stand up for their principals without being bullied,” former Chula Vista educator Barbara Todd shared.