PHILADELPHIA -- April 4 -- Center City Philadelphia will be decked out in 140 Equality Forum Rainbow Flags, in addition to 40 Equality Forum Rainbow Flags on Independence Mall, for Equality Forum 2005 & National Celebration (April 25 to May 1). The 180 eight-foot by four-foot Rainbow Flags make this the largest display of Rainbow Flags in history.
"The Rainbow Flag represents the diversity of our community," said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum. "The 140 Rainbow Flags in Center City Philadelphia reflect our visibility, while the 40 Rainbow Flags on Independence Mall, the site of the National Celebration, symbolize 40 Years and 40 Heroes."
The National Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the GLBT Civil Rights Movement will be on Sunday, May 1 on Independence Mall. The 16-hour National Celebration includes a Gay Pioneers & 40 Heroes Tribute in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Through an international process, 40 Heroes were selected for their leadership over the last 40 years.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will unveil a Historical Marker designating the area around Independence Hall as the site of the first organized and annual gay and lesbian civil rights demonstration (July 4, 1965) during the National Celebration. This Historical Marker is believed to be only the second official marker to designate a site significant to the GLBT Civil Rights movement.
"We started hanging the Rainbow Flags in early April," Lazin said. "By the time Equality Forum 2005 & National Celebration kicks off, Rainbow Flags will hang on every pole around City Hall and on many major streets. They will help greet guests from North America and Europe."
The first organized and annual demonstration for gay and lesbian civil rights was held in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell on July 4, 1965. These "Annual Reminders" were held in Philadelphia, D.C. and New York from 1965 to 1969 and led to Stonewall in 1969.
Equality Forum 2005 & National Celebration (April 25 to May 1) features over 100 programs, including 14 parties and 40 special events. More than 105 state, regional, national and international non-profit organizations and 30 national and international GLBT executive directors will be participating. Thirty states, D.C. and Puerto Rico will hold State Receptions on Saturday, April 30.
The 16-hour National Celebration on Independence Mall includes the Gay Pioneers & 40 Heroes Tribute, the SundayOUT street festival, screenings of the documentary Gay Pioneers, an Interfaith Service with Bishop Gene Robinson at historic Christ Church, a Gay Icons Pavilion at the Independence Visitors Center, Conversations with Gay Leaders at the National Constitution Center, a National Celebration Concert with Cyndi Lauper, celebrities, and parties.
There is no registration fee for Equality Forum 2005 and all substantive events including the National Celebration are free. Twenty Center City hotels are offering lowest rate.