HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Pride is now flying high in the city of Holyoke Thursday night, and while the flag is a symbol of love and inclusivity, it also serves as a reminder that the fight for equality continues.

It’s the start of Pride Month, a time to celebrate and reflect on the triumphs and tribulations of the the LGBTQ+ community. Those in Holyoke did just that by raising the pride flag outside the city hall, to recognize all of the city’s residents.

Mayor Joshua Garcia, among others, reading a formal proclamation, letting his residents know Holyoke is a safe space, “We need to continue to do our outreach,” Garcia says. “We need to start with schools because the way I see it is when their is a child struggling, if your not there to support them, it creates a problem. We are working with our community to make sure no voices goes unheard.”

Those in attendance say pride events like this help to bring the community closer together to create less of a divide and bring unity, and while many are united this month, the goal is also to work for a better tomorrow. Holyoke resident Savannah Rivers saying, “If we are targeted and speak up and demand these rights its not done in vain.”

Rivers adds that you can show support directly by shopping LGBTQ+ owned businesses. Holyoke’s festivities will continue this month with Pride Fest on June 17.